Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Liberal Jews, J-Street, Violent Criminals, and Twitter

Once again, I've gotten myself into a heated exchange on Twitter, and Twitter, with it's understandable, though sometimes annoying 140 character limit, cannot do it proper justice.  This too can't do it proper justice, but I figure, give it a try anyways.

It started with a video by Jackie Mason, posted on Facebook by David Ha'Ivri:

I shared this video on Twitter, quoting @haivri.  This got me into an argument with @thejewess.  She did not appreciate me referring to Liberal Jews as Israel's worst enemy, which is clearly the title of the video, and not my own title.  I would like to point out also that I constantly retweet many of The Jewess's own tweets, and would never dream of taking credit for those either.  (For those who are interested, I follow numerous points of view on Twitter, including well-known figures in Israeli politics and Zionism on the left and right, and the same with American politics.)
David Ha'Ivri is a resident of the Kfar Tapuach community, located about an hour north of Jerusalem, and a half hour out of Tel Aviv, in the Shomron region.  He is a political activist, and an outspoken leader of the "settler movement."  I know him personally, and find him a charismatic individual.  Yes, he has been to prison for crimes which I do not condone, as any violent crime (or any crime for that matter) is despicable, and deserves the utmost condemnation.  (NOTE: He has anyways expressed remorse for his crimes, so why people should refer to him as a "violent criminal who endangers lives" is beyond me.  He committed crimes, served time for it, expressed remorse; basically everything we would hope the legal and justice system should do, have done.  Why do people still seek to punish though?)  It is for this reason I have posts that unequivocally condemn the price-tag crimes, and was a big supporter throughout Chanuka of the Bright-Tag movement, with leaders of the Settler Movement joining with local regional Palestinian leaders to light Chanuka candles.

Now that the background has been set, I would like to explain my position more clearly on certain matters:
The Jews' worst enemy are the people set on killing us.  That would be Hamas, the PA, PLO, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, DFLP, Hizbullah, Bashar Assad, Iran, the Salafis in Egypt...  The list goes on and on and on.  These are clearly the worst enemies.  They openly seek the destruction of the Jewish people and the Jewish State.
However, there are Jewish people who sell us out, so to speak.  The poster-child of this movement is Noam Chomsky.  He is Jewish, but he's no fan of his own Jewish roots.  He's an unabashed anti-Zionist, self-hating Jew, etc.  While not necessarily the leader, he "leads" a small but vocal group of Jewish people who seek to undermine the Jewish people and everything we've done.
I always say jokingly that the miracle of the State of Israel isn't that we have survived the hatred and attacks of our neighbors.  The miracle is that people like Ben-Gurion and Begin, Rabin and Shamir, Herzl and Jabotinsky, Peres and Sharon, Barak and Netanyahu, etc. have all lived in this land (well most, but have all worked for this land,) and the country hasn't imploded. It's these members of the ultra-left who seek to undermine this.  Does that make them enemies of the Jews?  Using every conventional wisdom, absolutely.  Does that make them worse?  Well it depends on how you look at it.  From a purely "who's out to kill me" mentality, certainly not.  But if we take a step back, and look at Jewish history, we see that the Jews have never looked too kindly on these types of Jews.  The Chashmonaim sentenced the Hellenist Jews to a stricter punishment than the Greeks were sentenced to.  The Greeks were threatened with war, though they could always leave, surrender...  The Hellenists were given no such option.  It was death or death.
Throughout history, Jewish tradition and Jewish leaders have viewed vocal, self-hating Jews, as far more dangerous than people openly seeking our destruction.  Why?  Because the people who seek our destruction, we see coming at us, we see their weapons, we see the hatred they have for us.  It's also there for everyone to see.  But when it comes to these self-hating Jews, they are sly about it.  Anything they say or do is always couched in the "I'm a Jew, I can say it."  Too many times, out enemies use the words of these people as fodder for their ways.  "I have the right to blow Jews up.  I'm not an anti-Semite either.  Chomsky or Finkelstein say the same!"
What makes the hard left fundamentally different from the far right is that people on the right do not seek the destruction of the Jews.  While they may espouse views I don't agree with, and even commit actions I find abhorrent, they do so out of quite misguided thoughts that are PREDICATED ON LOVE FOR THE JEWISH PEOPLE.  The same cannot be said about the hard left.

What about "liberal Jews" as Jackie Mason puts it?  I have zero opinion on liberal Jews.  There's a big misconception in Israel that Republican=Good and Democrat=Bad.  Disproof: Ron Paul and Steve Rothman or Rand Paul and Chuck Schumer.  (These are examples of Reps, one of whom is one of Israel's closest friends in Washington (Rothman), the other of whom has espoused views more anti-Israel than Barack Obama ever has (Paul).  We then see Schumer, who may one day become the Democratic leader in the Senate, and Israel couldn't be better off.  Compare him to the Republican, Paul.)  Based on this, I take no position on the idea of liberal versus conservative, or Democrat versus Republican.
However, there are people, such as J-Street, who cannot be discounted.  They are not the hard left, but they are not the mainstream, regardless if they'd like to portray themselves as such.  Are they dangerous?  Certainly not to the extent of Chomsky, but can we call these people dangerous?  I would have to say absolutely.  Jeremy Ben-Ami does not act in the best interests of Israel; he acts in the best interests of himself.  I've said for years: I wouldn't have nearly as much of a problem with J-Street if they lobbied the Israeli government instead of the US government.  They lobby the US government to force Israel to change. Why not cut the middleman and do it yourself!  They claim they're doing Israel a service, because they're removing AIPAC's monopoly.  But this couldn't be further from the truth.  AIPAC's mission is to serve Israel's interests in the US.  If J-Street wanted to represent Israel's interests, then represent Israel's interests. Otherwise, don't claim to do so.  They claim to be pro-Israel, but I find this to be a misnomer.  They certainly aren't against the idea of a Jewish State, but they spend too much time focusing on how they're ALSO pro-Palestine, and not enough time showing them to be pro-Israel.  Instead of billing itself as Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace (as if AIPAC is opposed to peace,) they should bill themselves as Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestine.  At least that would be more honest marketing.
And to me, that's the problem with J-Street.  They have dishonest marketing.  "Tell a lie enough times and it becomes truth."  They use dishonest marketing techniques, and they fail to reflect reality.  Too many times they show why Israel is wrong (more often that not when they're not actually,) but not enough of why Israel is right.  (Yes, they have occasionally, but not nearly enough for an organization billed as pro-Israel.)  This leads to major misconceptions about Israel which are quite damaging.  They claim that Israel is better off now that they're here, and not just AIPAC.
But I disagree.  People who hate Israel will hate it whether or not AIPAC is there.  (Such as John Mearsheimer.)  AIPAC hasn't made anyone hate Israel, or view it in a more negative light.  But J-Street has.  So again, is J-Street an "enemy" of Israel?  Depends on how you define it, but I certainly wouldn't characterize Jeremy Ben-Ami as a "friend' of Israel's.


  1. "The Jews' worst enemy are the people set on killing us. That would be Hamas, the PA, PLO, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, DFLP, Hizbullah, Bashar Assad, Iran, the Salafis in Egypt... "

    This statement is deeply flawed. Probably not *ONE* of these groups want to kill Jews qua Jews. For example, Hizbullah is supporting the reconstruction of the old Jewish Synagogue in Beirut and its leaders have expressed their wish to encourage the Jewish community in Lebanon. Both Hamas and Iranian mullahs of the highest degree have met ultra-orthodox Jews publicly, affirming their support for the 25,000 Jews living relatively freely in Iran as you can see in this National Geographic video, the section about the Jews in Iran

    Sheikh Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas was always very clear about the reasons that lead him to be against ZIONISM, not against Jews per se.

    Many Jews in the world feel that the Zionist movement did not benefit the Jewish people. You can agree or disagree, but I think it is disinginuos confuse the controversy against Zionist ideology with blind hate against Jews qua Jews.

  2. One can be Jewish yet not Zionist; one can be Zionist yet not Jewish. Very true statement. However, to the masses, a Jew=Zionist and Zionist=Jew. When your average member of Hamas fires a rocket at Southern Israel, he cares not about whether it hits a Zionist or not. He will tell you he hates Jews.
    During the Second Lebanon War, Sheikh Hassan Nasralla stated: "I wish all the Jews of the world would congregate into Israel so as to make my life easier." While earlier leaders of Hamas may have had "nobler" intentions (of which I highly doubt anyways,) the current leadership hold no such beliefs.

    I agree that there are multiple issues at play. The one in the foreground is the fight over Israel. Hamas, as well as Fatah, are fighting Israel over all of the land. Deeper in the conflict is the religious divide. I do NOT believe that all Muslims or all Arabs hate Jews. And I'm aware that there are periods in history in which the Muslims and Jews shared peace and equality. However, the general course of history has been a hatred for Jews, nothing to do with Zionists, by the Muslims of the land. That hasn't changed today.

    There might be a fight over Israel, but tangentially connected to that fight is the hatred they have for Jews. (Though admittedly, there are some groups who simply hate Israel, but couldn't care less about Jews. They simply hate lack of Arab dominance.)

    (While I stand by this, I will say: perhaps the terminology above isn't the best, but here's what I mean: a danger to Israel is a danger to the Jews. This is the Jewish Homeland. If the Jewish Homeland is lost, there will be problems for the Jews. So even if Hamas doesn't openly state hatred for the Jews, by virtue of being the biggest enemy of the Jewish State, they are the biggest enemy of the Jewish people.)

  3. Hamas have no concern with the "Jews", Hammas is NOT the biggest "enemy of the Jewish people" but the biggest defenders of the liberty and rights of the non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine.

    It so happened that the Zionist movement disenfranchised the rights of this population, expelled hundreds and thousands of its sons and daughters, subjugating the rest to Israeli a merciless occupation, control and humiliation. THIS is the reason why Zionists are the target of the struggle for liberation.

    If the hate of Zionists "spills over" to the Jews of the world, this is because people confuse "Being Jewish" and "Being Zionist". If we really want to fight antisemitism, we must work together to dispel the myth that "Jew=Zionist". The atrocities committed by the Zionist are a burden on the Jewish people, not a refuge.

  4. "AIPAC's mission is to serve Israel's interests in the US."
    This is actually wrong. AIPAC's mission is to strengthen the US- Israel relationship. They do NOT represent Israel's interests in the United States.