Saturday, March 16, 2024

Israel, Anti-Semitism, And Our Dilemma


A friend of mine sent me this disturbing, unbalanced expression of discontent by Joel Kotkin from The Claremont Institute. > Imagine, unbalanced right-wing distraught expression of alarm from the Claremont Institute, who'd a thunk it.

Before the war, last February, in an acclaimed blog post, I set out what I thought US policy should be toward the increasingly illiberal leaning Israel. I said basically that much of what had drawn us toward Israel for decades, before the Likud-Netanyahu-extreme religious right descent, had disappeared. So we had to start regarding Israel as an ally of convenience more than an ally of conviction.

Now, of course, our dilemma is even more acute. If Israel makes it difficult to support them, Hamas of course makes support of them totally impossible – except they are getting it. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

In reading the Claremont article, which bemoans what he identifies as rising anti-Semitism and insufficient public opposition to anti-Semitism, I find some agreement. I, too, am appalled at the support given to the lefty teachings.  I am appalled at the pro-Hamas virulence, and the lack of arrests and expulsions when they cross the line.  Lefty faculties are appalling.

But, once again, there is the problem of anti-Israel vs. anti-Semitism.  They are not the same.  I think much of what Israel has done, has been, and continues to be appalling, and it has spawned ever more Israel isolation in world politics.  i find too many Jewish organizations saying, either you're pro-Israel totally, or you're anti-Semitic.  Israel would have a lot more supporters if their politics and West Bank actions and declarations of intent to wipe out all Palestinians were not so dreadful.  Netanyahu and colleagues have squandered the ethical high ground that Jews have occupied previously.  There is a reason so many American Jews, and others who would be friendly, hesitate in their support of Israel.  Most people feel, I think, that Israel has a right and a necessity to exist, but not a right to oppress.  Not to whitewash the dreck of Palestinian and other Arab and Iranian organizations, and not to whitewash the ignorant anti-Semitism of the unwashed left here and abroad.  And certainly not to whitewash all the anti-Semitism exported from Arab countries.  I wish they would all return to where they came from and see how they like living under Assad and other friendly murderers.

Likud and the Israeli right wingnuts have put Jews worldwide in an impossible position. How do you support liberal values and the existence and need for safety for Israel, when the state of Israel's policies are so difficult to support?  It's so difficult to say one hates the government and its policies and that some of its leaders belong in the Hague, but we need to give all our support to Israel and let them do and say whatever they want, when so much of what they want is heinous.  We just have to wait out the crisis, I guess, and hope Netanyahu goes to jail soon, while strongly resisting and calling out anti-Semitism.  Jews need to be judicious -- strong but reasonable, and not exerting wealth and power tools on the universities so prominently, which fuels paranoia and anti-Semitism. Being judicious in these circumstances is really hard.   

One of my friends read the piece and was disturbed. He is dissatisfied, as Kotkin is, with the Democrats – Progressives support for Hamas is really appalling and surprisingly widespread, but he is dissatisfied with the rest of the Democrats as well. He wishes for a moderate third party messiah. I had to say, friend, ain't gonna happen, can't happen, all third parties are destructive -- although I think Kennedy could drain some votes from Trump.  I'm hoping that the security community drops its non-partisan stance and says, we are partisan for democracy and the continuation of American leadership of the free world, and therefore, even though we are predominantly Republican privately, we are dropping our reticence and urging everyone to vote for Biden, or else we as a country are doomed.  Maybe that would help.  The Democratic party, which is not a stronghold of anti-Semitism at all, and which has good policies basically in so many areas, although there are certainly anti- Semites in their Left wing -- is the only hope.  And anyone who thinks that Biden hasn't given enough support to Israel - at great political cost to himself - is mistaken. He is giving more than they have a right to expect.

Anyway. As I used to hear on CBS when it was reputable, That's the way it is.

Budd Shenkin