Thursday, July 10, 2008


Worth Reading

... the comments too: a discussion of left-wing politics, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, sorta.

... and WestEndGal nails it: why we Jews distrust the left as anti-Semitic. Still, read on ... there is some interesting commentary (including, if I do say so myself, by yours truly) as we go on.

Also, David Schraub's critique of left wing privilege is exactly what I'm getting at when I refer to the Puritanism of some of the left. Some on the left are like Puritans if they would have taken more heed of the Beatitudes: the meek, the poor, et al. possess the kingdom of heaven, therefore they are the elected saints. The "privileged" are sinners ... and the left gets to decide who is elect and who isn't. P.J. O'Rourke (and me in the thread under discussion) link this attitude to Marxism, but it is also Puritanism. It's also why, as I point out in the linked thread, the left lacks traction where it should have it -- at the very least, why would Southerners and (spiritual) descendents of Cavaliers go for (New England) Puritanical thinking?

Remember folks, Puritanism was not, pace later conceptions of it, all about teh hawt sex or avoidance thereof: even still, note the obsessions of the left no less than the oft-called Puritanical right about sexual mores ... some of which no doubt represent reasonable applications of "the personal is political" whilst some represent the degree to which such a statement belongs with the Puritans and Nesbitt rather than on the left.

I should also point out that part of why Jews, working class white, etc. might "blame" liberals and moonbats more for their "Puritanism" than they blame conservatives is that nobody expects anything but a vigorous defense of privilege from the right. From the left people expect more (which is why charges of liberal hypocrisy stick so well but IOKIYAR, so to speak) and when they don't get it, it "rankles". And if the left rights off underprivileged groups as nonetheless privileged, should the left be surprised when those groups say "if we're privileged, then let's take up the right wing politics that maintain privilege"?

To use a book title of yore -- some left-thinking people are wont to declaim that Kansans are privileged and then, when Kansans vote GOP in spite of on what side their economic bread is buttered, they whine and complain "what's the matter with Kansas?". Let's leave pissing in the wind and complaining about it raining to the political right (who are so much better at it than we ... and it's bad enough that they project their skill at it onto us ... need we engage in it in reality as well?) shall we?


Update: I received the "poem" from my wife's shul's listserv. I don't agree with it -- we Jews have a duty to be humans where others are not. But still, there is something very important about this sentament. For the "left", the behavior of Israel is beyond the norms of "civilization". But what if civilization is itself suspect? Some on the left would reject this "narrative" in its entirety and shut down any conversation about it. Some on the left, who are empathetic toward almost everyone and would happily excuse all sorts of wrong-doing because "those poor, persecuted souls had no other option", would lack empathy for the point of view expressed below and not excuse the rejection of civilized norms by Ms. Regen. Why the blind-spot? What's the difference? And many on the left wonder why so many Jews, traditionally so left-leaning, don't trust the left?

Naomi Ragen

I was a new oleh when the PFLP and two Germans hijacked a plane
full of Israelis to Entebbe. I remember well those nail-biting
days, the moral dilemma of freeing dangerous terrorists for live
hostages; the idea that negotiations would just lead to more
hijackings. But what other choice did we have? After all, they
were in Uganda, so far away .

We found a way.

I will never forget the morning of July 4, 1976, waking up to the
news. Our soldiers had gone in, at great personal risk. They had
saved almost everyone, and killed the terrorists. We were not
helpless victims anymore, the Jews. No, we were clever, and
resourceful and courageous. We showed the world how to behave.
We led the way.

I wake up this morning of July 16, 2008 with quite another
feeling. Our soldiers, kidnapped on our own land, not across any
international border, are brought back to us in caskets after two
years of sadistic playfulness with the hearts of their families
by Hezbollah terrorists, who led us to believe they were alive.
And in exchange for dead bodies, we turn over a despicable
baby-killer, Sami Kuntar.

Oh, you will hear the boosters of the Israeli government sigh.
What can we do? We are civilized and they are not. We care
about our soldiers and their families.

No, I'm afraid you do not. If you cared, then you would have a
death penalty for people like Kuntar, so that they too can be
released in caskets. And if you cared, you would be intelligent
enough, seeing our soldiers brought back to us dead, to have put
a bullet through Kuntar and then turned him over to his friends.

Civilized is a euphemism for weak and helpless. Civilized is not
a moral value, because we all know what Western civilization is
capable of. Concentration camps. Civilian round-ups, the gassing
of children. All this under the banner of laws and policemen and
governments. On the other hand, the moral thing to do to a tried
and convicted murderer like Kuntar is to spill his blood, because
he has spilled the blood of others. That may not fit in with
current civilized niceties, but let no one say it is immoral.

When it comes to immoral, to release Kuntar to a hero's welcome
and the opportunity to murder others is on the top of the scale.

My government, the Israeli government, arranged this. They let
it happen. They oversaw it and implemented it.

I am deeply ashamed to be an Israeli today. And I'm not very
proud of being a Jew either, if this is how a Jewish country
behaves. To lead the world in ever more despicable acts of
appeasement is nothing to be proud of. The torch we always
carried, the "light unto the nations" has been blown out by the
hot-air of our politicians.

If we cared about our soldiers, we would not be showing our
enemies that kidnapping and terrorism pay. We would not be
setting the stage for the next murderous terrorist raid and
hostage standoff. We would be passing laws with a mandatory
death penalty for convicted terrorists with blood on their hands,
as well as their accomplices. We would be making these laws
retroactive. Then, we would be cutting off all water and
electricity to Gaza until Gilad Shalit is released. If that
didn't work, we'd begin executions within one week, increasing
the number convicted terrorists facing firing squads with each
passing day until Gilad is returned to us safe and sound. And if
that didn't work, we would begin daily bombings of Gaza, with the
same number and frequency of attacks that our own city Sderot has
suffered over the past three years from the Gazans. Not
civilized? Perhaps. But moral. Extremely moral.

My fantasy is that Israelis will rise up and overturn the
political system which has left them with the dregs of their
nation as leaders- a bunch of self-serving crooks and syncophants
who will do anything to stay in office; an electoral system in
which a party like Kadima, with its collection of felons and
moral imbeciles , who got only 23% of the vote, is allowed to
rule us into the ground. We have Mr. Olmert, and Ms. Livni, and
Mr. Peres, and Mr. Ramon (a convicted sex offender, who is now
in line to take over from Olmert) and many, many others to thank,
for creating this day of infamy.

May G-d redeem us from them.

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