"Unity", "Love"? Nonsense, they want us to cover their backs

November 24, 2016 23:02

Joel Schalit makes an excellent point here about the danger caused by those on the extreme right of the Jewish political spectrum and their friendships with like-minded non-Jews.

Breivik and the Jews
Reviewing ties to the right

By Joel Schalit - 2 August 20110 Comments

Alex Stein was anxious. Condemning leftist Jewish pundits for publicizing Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik’s affinity for Zionism, the Tel Aviv-based British blogger cried anti-Semitism. “Those on the left who use the arguments outlined above are seeking to demonize whole communities for the crimes of one murderous wing nut,” Stein thundered in The Forward, four days after the Oslo attacks. “While it is true that Breivik clearly identifies with the ideas of a number of right-wing thinkers,” he argued, “this does not mean that those are responsible for what happened in Oslo, anymore than Chomsky was responsible for 9/11.”...

The repetitive nature of such arguments can be numbing. Especially if you pay attention to them with any degree of frequency, like professional community activists mobilized around the Israel/Palestine issue. It is one of the reasons debates about Israel in the Jewish Diaspora can be so alienating. The patience required to sit through them is enormous, and there is rarely any payoff. Though my politics are progressive, I was hoping that Oslo might inspire the Jewish right to help us interrupt this cycle, not the left. Yes, it was important for the latter to broadcast Anders Breivik’s affinity for Zionism. But nothing new was going to come from another reiteration of a threadbare argument. With the right, at least, there was the possibility of a breakthrough. This is why I thought I’d make a close reading of Alex Stein’s article.

Jews who espouse the kinds of anxieties expressed by Stein — specifically, the concern that Jews who speak openly about their political differences will only cause Jews more problems — remain closer to Europe in their thinking than those who don’t preoccupy themselves with such matters. This explains why the individuals Alex Stein charged with allegedly endangering the Jewish community were Americans, not Israelis or Europeans. Despite the predilection of US Jewry to be conservative in matters concerning Israel, there is also, conversely, a typically American willingness to jettison the conventions and reflexes of European Jewish life. Discomfort with Zionist orthodoxy is one such response, albeit a more recent one.

In offering such formulations, I don’t mean to imply that European Jewry is more conservative, especially about issues of security, than its American and Israeli counterparts. What sets it apart is its proximity to the physical experience of anti-Semitism. Not in terms of personal experience, with a few post-1989 exceptions, but historically, as Jews who did not make Aliyah to Israel, or move to the US, but remained in Europe after the Holocaust. Being closer to the site of the Nazi genocide, whether it be in southern Europe, or the United Kingdom, has its own effects. They do not necessarily compel a move towards the right. But they do at least help to explain Jewish fear better. In this sense, as Zionist ideology is wont to assert, location is everything.

The challenge of the Oslo killings for Jews, is to understand this, so that we might leverage European Jewish experience differently than we have in the past. Thus, instead of simply admonishing one another to shut up, so that more gentiles do not learn that aspiring young Nazis like to read the work of Jewish conservatives like Melanie Phillips, how about taking the time to articulate what’s dangerous about Phillips’ work? Because it’s her argument that’s the problem, not her ethnicity. Emphasizing this crucial distinction, as opposed to seeking to bury Phillips like something unpleasant, because she is, like us, Jewish, would be far more constructive. It might even combat the stereotypes which conflate Jews with right-wing politics.

They only want "unity" so they can hide their errors and hope we will be those who clear up after the mess they cause

November 24, 2016 23:02

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