Loving Israel

I find it sort of spooky that my last post was about an assault on Jewish identity led by overly-aggressive evangelical Christians. Today I want to add this paradoxical and heartbreaking proviso: that an overly-aggressive State of Israel and its lockstep defenders poses a much graver threat to Jewish continuity–an “existential threat,” to borrow one of their favorite phrases–than Moishe Rosen could have ever dreamed of.

A couple of ironically pregnant quotes leading up to yesterday’s horror:

May 19:

“The prime minister of Israel has repeatedly compared the establishment of a Palestinian state to the Holocaust. His foreign minister, and protégé, has flirted with advocating the physical expulsion of Israeli Arabs. The spiritual leader of his government’s fourth-largest party has called for politicians who advocate ceding territory to the Palestinians to be struck dead. West Bank settlements are growing at triple the rate of the Israeli population, and according to a recent Tel Aviv University poll, 80 percent of religious Jewish Israeli high schoolers would refuse orders to dismantle them. One-third of Jewish Israelis favor pardoning Yigal Amir, the man who murdered Yitzhak Rabin.

I hate writing these words. I was raised to love Israel, and I will teach my children to love it. But we don’t get to choose what is true. And if you love Israel not only because it is a Jewish state but also because it is a liberal democratic Jewish state, a state that strives to embody the best in the Jewish ethical tradition, there is only one decent response to these truths: fury. If you’re not angry, you’re either not paying attention or you don’t care.”
–Peter Beinart, The Daily Beast

May 28:

“Avigdor Lieberman said Friday afternoon that “the flotilla is an attempt at violent propaganda against Israel, and Israel will not allow a violation of its sovereignty at sea, in the air, or on land.”

Lieberman, who spoke during a visit to the Forgein Ministry’s situation room, added, “There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and despite the Hamas leadership’s war crimes and rocket fire, Israel is conducting itself in the most humanitarian manner, and is allowing the entrance of thousands of tons of food and equipment to Gaza.”

May 31:

“In a brief interview with the soldiers who were aboard the ships, one soldier said that the attack “looked like the Ramallah lynch.”–Jerusalem Post

There is no humanitarian crisis; armed soldiers rappelling onto aid ships in international waters are innocent victims of a racist mob, like Vadim Nurzhitz and Yossi Avrahami, who were beaten to death in 2000 while in the custody of the Palestinian Authority. This is beyond parody. Lieberman did get the “violent propaganda” part right–as George Friedman says, “Israel ran into its own fist.” And here’s Commentary‘s predictable summation:

June 1:

“Haven’t the Israelis repeatedly offered the Palestinians their own state? And after all this was an incident concerning Gaza — do the editors expect Bibi to recognize a Hamas state? Well, let’s not get bogged down in facts.

The task of rebutting the lies and distortions is huge. Having been too meek on too many fronts for too long, it’s a good opportunity for American Jewry to step up to the plate and take on that task — and be prepared to also take on the administration should Obama be less than fulsome in his support of Israel’s right of self-defense.”–Jennifer Rubin, Commentary

Too meek on too many fronts for too long. Precisely.

Everyone talks about Fascism. I’m starting to wonder if we aren’t getting into L. Ron Hubbard territory as well.


5 thoughts on “Loving Israel

  1. Israel’s actions, not just in the ‘Free Gaza flotilla’ raid, but in ‘Cast Lead’, in settlements, in the ‘Apartheid Wall, the checkpoints, etc . threaten Jews worldwide. Were they morally sustainable, we/ I ,(as an Evangelical Christian) would live with it. They are not. Anti-Semitism is on the increase in Europe as a direct result of the (accurate) perception that Israel policy oppresses Palestinians in the OPT. Less well understood it the oppression faced by its own Israeli-Arab population.
    We need to separate opposition to Israeli policy & practice – like the continued settler bureaucratic assault on ‘Tent of Nations’ – from racism. I’m as opposed to racism, whether it be Jews or Blacks or Arabs, as I am to Israels aggressive & racist policies. And I’m going to continue to believe that there are many Jews in Israel, as there are here in UK, who despise much of what is done in their name.

  2. Speaking of fascism, the loony toons character that is Pamela of Atlas Shrugs – a blog of which shrieking, hysterical antiMuslim,antiliberal hatred jumps off the page at you – has been writing that the Israeli soldiers were “ambushed” by Jihadists on a fake humanitarian aid vessell.

    She’s so deranged (for example, she’s speculated that Obama is actually the illegimate child of Malcom X … seriously) that i’d be inclined tok ignore her, except that she’s someone who now gets to make mainstream appearances on the majore news networks.

  3. Both Atlas Shrugs and Michelle Malkin led by trashing Rachel Corrie (whose name is painted on the bow of an Irish aid ship that’s currently enroute to Gaza). The real “St. Pancake,” Atlas Shrugs informs me, was a modern day “blood libel.” She wasn’t run over by the bulldozer that wasn’t destroying a Palestinian’s home–she was killed when debris dislodged by the bulldozer struck her in the head. And besides, she was photographed burning an American flag. At best, she was a “useful idiot” for the terrorists who tricked her into her specious martyrdom; at worst, she was “a Jew hating genius.”

    Remember back in 1971, when an Ohio grand jury issued indictments against 25 students for provoking the guardsmen to fire in self defense? It didn’t work then and it’s not going to work this time. You don’t have to demonize anyone to understand that Israel blundered terribly; you certainly don’t have to be an anti-Semite or a self-hating Jew.

    Here’s David Grossman in the Guardian (I don’t have to remind anyone that Grossman–who is at least as Jewish as Michelle Malkin–lost his son in Lebanon):

    Israel did not send its soldiers to kill civilians in cold blood; this is the last thing it wanted. Yet, a small Turkish organisation, fanatical in its religious views and radically hostile to Israel, recruited to its cause several hundred seekers of peace and justice, and managed to lure Israel into a trap, because it knew how Israel would react, knew how Israel is destined and compelled, like a puppet on a string, to react the way it did.

    How insecure, confused and panicky a country must be, to act as Israel acted! With a combination of excessive military force, and a fatal failure to anticipate the intensity of the reaction of those aboard the ship, it killed and wounded civilians, and did so – as if it were a band of pirates – outside its territorial waters.

    Or read Amos Oz in the New York Times today:

    Hamas is not just a terrorist organization. Hamas is an idea, a desperate and fanatical idea that grew out of the desolation and frustration of many Palestinians. No idea has ever been defeated by force — not by siege, not by bombardment, not by being flattened with tank treads and not by marine commandos. To defeat an idea, you have to offer a better idea, a more attractive and acceptable one.

    Thus, the only way for Israel to edge out Hamas would be to quickly reach an agreement with the Palestinians on the establishment of an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as defined by the 1967 borders, with its capital in East Jerusalem. Israel has to sign a peace agreement with President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah government in the West Bank — and by doing so, reduce the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a conflict between Israel and the Gaza Strip. That latter conflict, in turn, can be resolved only by negotiating with Hamas or, more reasonably, by the integration of Fatah with Hamas.

    Even if Israel seizes 100 more ships on their way to Gaza, even if Israel sends in troops to occupy the Gaza Strip 100 more times, no matter how often Israel deploys its military, police and covert power, force cannot solve the problem that we are not alone in this land, and the Palestinians are not alone in this land. We are not alone in Jerusalem and the Palestinians are not alone in Jerusalem.

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