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:
“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
“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.”
“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:
“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.