When will liberal Zionists give up on their dream?

Israel/Palestine
on 49 Comments

Stuart Levey was for many years the Under Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, responsible for pushing sanctions against Iran, and because he had a long history of supporting Israel, the Institute for Research into Middle East Policy not long ago obtained and posted Levey’s senior thesis at Harvard in 1985. Levey is now at the Council on Foreign Relations– of course!– but the thesis, which concerns the danger to the “Zionist dream” posed by Meir Kahane, the rightwing Jewish extremist, is important for two reasons:

1, It shows just how deeply committed to Zionism was a political appointee who held one of the most important policy positions in both the Bush and Obama administrations—indeed Obama kept Levey over for 2 years in a nod to the Israel lobby. 2, More importantly, it is a statement of American liberal Zionist goals, aimed at preserving Israel’s “shared values” with the US against a threat to US support posed by Kahane’s open racism. As today’s elections in Israel are sure to demonstrate, that rightwing threat has continued to flourish and grow nearly 30 years on– so the thesis raises questions about liberal Zionism’s willful blindness.

1:

Written under the tutelage of Martin Peretz  in 1985, the thesis reveals Levey’s ardor about Zionism in countless ways, chiefly in his repeated invocation of the “Zionist dream” that engendered a “morally exemplary state.” He wrote:

“Zionism is the modern quest to realize the 2000 year old Jewish dream to return to the Holy Land and re-establish Jewish sovereignty…. All Zionist groups dreamed of settling Israel and creating a Jewish state by ingathering the scattered exiles of the Diaspora. They all stressed the ultimate unity of the Jewish people and their potential to create a state that would be a light unto other nations.”

A young Jew who had spent considerable time in Israel partly at the behest of Harvard professor Nadav Safran (who lost a job the next year for taking money from the CIA), Levey assured his reader that Jews would be “vigilant” against any discrimination against minorities in Israel because of “egalitarian, democratic ideals” nurtured in Europe.

“Israel’s record is virtually devoid of organized anti-Arab extremism in the political realm,” he claimed. But there is scarcely a word of respect for Palestinians in the thesis. Zionism was “an ideology shared… by nearly every Israeli,” Levey wrote, leaving out the 15-20 percent who were Palestinian. Arabs are “regarded by the majority of Jews as aliens.” And even Israeli Palestinians are “members of the hostile Arab nation surrounding Israel.”

Beautifully organized and sturdily-written (the thesis should be a study for anyone who aspires to enter the establishment or wants to understand how it works), the thesis had a serious purpose: to protect Israel from Kahane. Because Kahane (who was killed in New York in 1990) did not believe that Israel could be both a Jewish state and a democracy– it should only be a Jewish state, and it should expel Palestinians to become that more fully—he had exposed fundamental fault lines in the conception of Israel that Israel had never resolved. He forced Israelis “to confront the inescapable question of whether Israel can be both democratic and Jewish.” And if he continued to expose these faultlines, Levey warned, Arabs who feel no loyalty to the Jewish state were likely to rise up, and Jewish Mizrahi extremists (without that European experience of democracy) were likely to respond.

Israel had been lucky to experience very little extremism in its history, but that tradition could end with Kahane’s rise, and with it, Israel could become alienated from western pluralism, and thereby lose its most precious relationship, the support of the United States, Levey concluded.

So a young man whose most important intellectual work was seeking to ensure that the United States not abandon Israel ultimately had the government portfolio for punishing Israel’s putative enemies.

Of course we have seen many other ardent Zionists in high political position. William Kristol, Elliott Abrams, Rahm Emanuel, Dennis Ross, Stuart Eizenstat and Joe Biden come to mind. But you can safely assume that Levey was never asked about these matters when he came before Congress—the Congress that is raising serious questions about Chuck Hagel’s orientation because he has stated that he was not a senator from Israel.

2:

The thesis is more important in what it says about liberal Zionism. The 1985 author Stuart Levey believed deeply in Israeli democracy, and believed that its morality stemmed from its European origins, in a morally conscious people. He was genuinely appalled by Kahane’s “ethnic chauvinism:” by his desire to expel people who won’t swear a loyalty oath to the Jewish state, by statements comparing Arabs to cockroaches, by his threats of violence. Kahane was like Nazis in these attitudes, Levey wrote, and the Harvard student insisted that Israel had never experienced such racism before.

For Kahane had broken a taboo on a fundamental question: Kahane had carried “the idea of a Jewish state to its logical extreme…The potentially contradictory goals of the Israeli state to be both Jewish and democratic is a fault line along which major earthquakes can erupt.”

Levey overlooked a lot of other earthquakes in Israeli history. He had not a clue about the Nakba, which by then was being discovered by western and Jewish scholars, long after actual non-western, non-Jewish human beings had experienced it and written about it. He also overlooked the long history of Jewish extremism, including the murders of Chaim Arlosoroff, Lord Moyne, and Folke Bernadotte, as well as the terrorist branches, the Stern Gang and the Irgun, who as Arthur Koestler wrote, worked hand in glove with the regular Israeli forces to carry out the dirty work that could not bear an official Jewish signature in the war of independence. He did not seem troubled by the wanton militarism of the Lebanon invasion of 1982, which alienated many Americans. So there was ample evidence that young Levey overlooked of extremism.

And even if you cut young Levey slack on his blindness (as I do — he was 22, and I sure don’t want you reading my thesis) just think of the earthquakes that have come since! The butchery of Baruch Goldstein in 1994, the breaking hands of the First Intifada, the killing of a prime minister by a rightwing zealot, the brutal crackdown on the Second Intifada, the rise of Avigdor Lieberman with a Kahanist platform of expelling Palestinians and requiring loyalty oaths– and Lieberman is not a lowly member of the Knesset, but the Foreign Minister! And more: the deportation of African refugees and the rise in the latest election cycle of Naftali Bennett, with his declaration that there will never be a Palestinian state in the West Bank, that’s a Jewish state, and his friend Moshe Feiglin calling for ridding Palestine of Palestinians by paying them to leave and his friend Jeremy Gimpel fantasizing about blowing up the Dome of the Rock. And Feiglin and Gimpel could both become Knesset members today.

Liberal Zionists have been aware of the threats that ethnocracy poses to democracy for a very long time, certainly in Stuart Levey’s case since 1985. And now that those logical extremes have only been more fully explored, you must ask these liberal Zionists who have understood the problem for 30 years: at what point does the dream end? Stuart Levey was alarmed by one Knesset member’s danger to the blessed political culture—now Kahane’s ideas are all over the political culture, but I don’t believe Levey has spoken out against the trend. When does the Zionist dream of a Jewish state actually founder amid the increasing evidence of rightwing radicalization of that society in the name of Bennett’s goal of making Israel “more Jewish”? When is enough enough?

The answer is that liberal Zionism is a religious ideology of Jewish redemption, just as rightwing Zionism is, and its adherents are by and large religiously committed. They have kept their baby in the bathwater, even after the bathwater has turned into an open sewer. They are indisposed to face the truth out of core beliefs involving Jews and our destiny in western society. As Max Blumenthal jokes at public appearances, liberal Zionists deny there is apartheid in the West Bank when they warn that if we don’t act now it will be apartheid, but that is like saying, One day this table is going to be a table, when it’s a table right now.

I am actually hopeful. I believe that many liberal Zionists are going to get off the sinking ship. I think the ranks of Israeli critics will be swelled by former liberal Zionists, even ones of religious commitment, that their liberalism will win out and make the movement for Palestinian freedom stronger. As Joseph Dana told friends recently, it’s going to be a bad year for liberal Zionism, with the ascendancy of the radical right and its eventual insistence that Israel annex portions of the West Bank; and that transformation will be illusion shattering. David Remnick is evidence of this. He’s seen what Israel has become and he wants no part of it. Presumably he would support some thorough-going transformation of Israel if it could be done nonviolently. Or as Matthew Yglesias said at J Street four years ago, if he has to choose between justice and a Jewish state, ultimately he’s going to go with human rights. “I’m not going to be a Jewish fascist.”

Yet I suspect they’re in the minority. The evidence of Stuart Levey’s 1985 thesis is that liberal Zionists will peer at the desperate changes in Israeli society and wring their hands, then keep talking about preserving the Zionist dream.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

49 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    January 22, 2013, 10:12 am

    The “liberal Zionist” dream is based on racism….period. Displacement of indigenous people by whatever means. Obama keeping Levey on to do the work of the I lobby and Israel and squeeze Iran based on unsubstantiated claims was indeed a clear “nod”

    I don’t buy for one minute that Levey did not know about the Nakba. That is a bunch of hooey. Just chose to ignore and support Zionist crimes. Don’t buy this ignorance rap for one minute. Just making excuses for the so called “liberal Zionist.”

  2. Kathleen
    January 22, 2013, 10:26 am

    Kahane’s “open racism.” “Liberal Zionism” not so hidden racism if you look at it honestly.

  3. pabelmont
    January 22, 2013, 10:42 am

    Phil: Supposing liberal Zionists were to throw in the towel, what do you propose they pick up instead?

    Shall they denounce Israel as racist and anti-democratic (and throw in apartheid as to West Bank as well)? And, if so, shall all this be mere words, or would there also be a POLICY RECOMMENDATION?

    Discontent by ex-LibZios is all very well, speaking out is better (even if only public hand-wringing), but a call to arms is best.

    My recommendation, always, is to call for USA-led demand, with sanctions for non-compliance, in UNSC, for a legal occupation (I know, the occupation should end, but as long as it persists, it should be legal) meaning, at the very least, REMOVAL of settlers, settlements (read UNSC-465) and wall (read ICJ July 9, 2004). In the event that the USA will not lead, there should be a broad international vote for nation-level BDS — with sanctions for non-compliance, in UNGA.

    THIS is what disappointed ex-lib-Zios should support, because it means an end of the settlements and ultimately of the occupation, leaves Israel intact as a nation, will lead to a Palestinian state in WB&G, and allows Israel to become democratic again — if it can!

    I think Palestinians and their friends and friends of international law and human rights can also support this. No-one but hard-line Zios would oppose it.

    So let’s talk it up! That or propose some other action.

    • Patrick
      January 22, 2013, 12:15 pm

      “No-one but hard-line Zios would oppose it.”

      I think lots of liberal Zionists are likely to oppose this as well. They would do so on the fear that a program of removing settlements in the WB would drive Israel to civil war.

      • Frankie P
        January 22, 2013, 6:56 pm

        “No-one but hard-line Zios would oppose it.”

        Nonsense! Joel Kovel’s mother would oppose it. Phil’s mother would oppose it. A huge number of American Jews who on other issues are progressive left-leaners would oppose it, not because they fear some kind of civil war in Israel, as Patrick mentions, but because they would see it as “Not good for the Jews”. Until these neurotic fears of the eternally murderous goyim are better understood and overcome, there will be no peace.

        FPM

  4. Mndwss
    January 22, 2013, 11:12 am

    Israeli “democracy” is two wolves (liberal Zionists/Zionists) and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.

  5. seanmcbride
    January 22, 2013, 11:28 am

    Phil,

    You continue to produce the best analysis of Mideast (and especially Israeli) politics that is available anywhere — New Republic denizens must be envious. If they want to start competing with you, here is my advice to them: start trying to tell the truth to best of your abilities — follow the facts wherever they may lead — and stop indulging in propagandistic rationalizations for anything.

    This Stuart Levey senior thesis is a major find — and your comments on the thesis are pitch perfect.

    I have begun to realize over the last year or two that in many ways Meir Kahane was a major prophet — he posed the most important question about Zionism — how can Israel be both a Jewish and a democratic state? — and so far no liberal Zionist has been able to provide a credible answer to that question. Kahane had it figured out. In his own way, he was a first-class truth teller.

    Levey should write a book in which he revisits and explores in much greater depth the questions he touched on in 1985.

    I stand by my earlier prediction here: under increasing pressure from inescapable facts on the ground, 90% of liberal Zionists will break towards Likud Zionism (or worse); 10% will break towards anti-Zionism or non-Zionism. Why is this the case? — they can’t break free from the bonds of their intensive cultural conditioning, much of which is the product of the unholy fusion of Judaism with Zionism.

    And this is why I think it is an urgent matter for the critique of Zionism to expand into an intellectual challenge to the Jewish religious establishment, which needs to start undoing all the efforts it has made to entangle Judaism with Zionism. Let the disentanglement process begin.

    • Mooser
      January 22, 2013, 12:48 pm

      “— they can’t break free from the bonds of their intensive cultural conditioning,”

      And what would you say (since I obviously need to inform myself on this) was the main avenue of cultural conditioning? The method? This is some serious conditioning!

      I notice that Phil uses the words “a religious ideology” which might give some clue to how deep he thinks it goes.

      • seanmcbride
        January 22, 2013, 1:18 pm

        Mooser,

        And what would you say (since I obviously need to inform myself on this) was the main avenue of cultural conditioning? The method? This is some serious conditioning!

        With regard to the intensive cultural conditioning that produced the aggressive ethno-religious nationalism of Benjamin Netanyahu, Caroline Glick, Dennis Ross, Douglas Feith, Elliott Abrams, Eric Cantor, Martin Peretz, Naftali Bennett, Pamela Geller, William Kristol, etc. — why not ask them? What were their most important cultural, intellectual and ideological influences?

        This shouldn’t be a difficult question to answer.

        I can readily account for my own cultural, intellectual and ideological influences and will be happy to do so in detail. I will even explain to you why I have evolved into a theosophist and transhumanist. :)

        (This may come as a surprise to you Mooser: as a kid I experienced several idyllic months at a mostly Jewish summer camp on a music scholarship. And later I had the opportunity to study with some of the most brilliant Jewish minds on the planet — most of whom were Enlightenment humanists.)

      • libra
        January 22, 2013, 3:14 pm

        seanmcbride: … as a kid I experienced several idyllic months at a mostly Jewish summer camp on a music scholarship. And later I had the opportunity to study with some of the most brilliant Jewish minds on the planet — most of whom were Enlightenment humanists.)

        All things considered Sean, it’s a shame it wasn’t a comedy scholarship then we might get few more jokes and bit less trumpet blowing from you.

      • seanmcbride
        January 22, 2013, 3:28 pm

        I let Mooser handle all the jokes here — but I am hoping he will wangle a scholarship to the Catskills Comedy School for me.

        By the way, that summer camp was very much like a Judd Apatow movie — much fun and hilarity.

      • seanmcbride
        January 22, 2013, 7:48 pm

        libra,

        Ok, I want to contribute a joke to Mondoweiss.

        Why can’t leopards hide?

        wait for it, wait for it, wait for it —

        Because they are always spotted.

        Honestly, I am a laff riot.

      • Citizen
        January 22, 2013, 8:45 pm

        I bet it was. Yeah, Judd Apatow movies–they are really funny like infantile Adam Sandler might laugh at them. Apatow’s stuff is weak, very weak–and proud of it like just the right amount of chin stubble to play stylish bourgeois edgy.

      • Frankie P
        January 22, 2013, 10:35 pm

        @Mooser,

        It IS some serious conditioning. Serious enough to cause Phil Weiss to say:

        “I feel American before I feel Jewish. I think that’s the achievement of my life, to have flipped those identities, and Jewish is second.”

        That must be some mondoconditioning if Phil calls it the achievement of his life to put his identity as an American before his Jewish identity. So what would make this seemingly natural prioritization such a monumental task? What is the main avenue of this cultural conditioning? What would you think it would be? Primarily, it would start with the nuclear family, then the extended family, the community, etc. Maybe you could explain the conditioning process if you feel that you have experienced it. I must admit that I feel Sean shows terrific restraint in not calling you out on your constant belittling and minimizing of his raising of serious issues.

        FPM

      • Citizen
        January 25, 2013, 10:53 am

        @ Frankie P

        Yeah, when you look at the text, or hear the voice, which is the noun, and which is the modifier/adjective always says a lot. Also, which does the speaker or writer stress when engaged in debate, including attempts at making it ironic and/or funny. None of the regular commenters here, including Mooser, think the adjective “Jewish” or the nouns “Judaism” or “Zionism” don’t overlap. Wait, Mooser thinks Judaism, as exhibited by contemporary well-established American Jewish organizations, is distinct from Zionism. He always tries to beat back seanmcbride’s questions wrt at least semi-conflation with the notion that Jews don’t have a Pope, which is true. But anybody who grew up Catholic knows many Catholics ignore the Pope in actual practice on various issues, and they do so their entire lives. In a way, nothing big about this. Protestants are as varied in how they actually practice/preach their organized religions, and fundy baby jesus freaks do and think exactly what they want, while always simultaneously saying they talk to Jesus and he approves. There is a link between schools within Judaism and Zionism. There’s no question to any alert observer that the Establishment Jewish American community often conflates being a good Jew with being supportive of the nuclear and occupying, land-grabbing state of Israel. Not all Jews do. But there’s a powerful, grown up in America link, just as seanmcbride suggests. And that is an issue worth pursuing.

      • Citizen
        January 25, 2013, 11:01 am

        @ Frankie P
        “That must be some mondoconditioning if Phil calls it the achievement of his life to put his identity as an American before his Jewish identity.”

        Yeah, look how long it took some of the WASPs born and reared in America.
        What’s happening to Phil is what Dick Caveat describes about his love for German lugar pistols–he discussed it at length with Imus recently.

    • dbroncos
      January 22, 2013, 1:24 pm

      Phil, seriously, don’t write a book – not yet. Your role as a groundbreaking journalist is much more important right now. Sites like Mondoweiss and Electronic Intifada are the best, most honest sources of current reportage on I/P. You’ll have plenty of time to write a book when the tide turns.

    • dbroncos
      January 22, 2013, 1:43 pm

      @seanmcbride

      “…they can’t break free from the bonds of their intensive cultural conditioning, much of which is the product of the unholy fusion of Judaism with Zionism.”

      Sean,
      The “intensive cultural conditioning” of American Zionists also includes intensive conditioning in American democratic values. As the Zionist enterprise sinks further into fascism, and the facts become more difficult to deny, I can easily see liberal Zionists in a stampede towards liberal democracy. They won’t want to be associated with Israeli fascism any more than they would with American fascism given the history of anti semitism in places where fascism has emerged.

      • American
        January 22, 2013, 2:51 pm

        Sean,
        The “intensive cultural conditioning” of American Zionists also includes intensive conditioning in American democratic values”……bronco

        I see a problem there in that American democratic values have had zero impact on uber zionist and little on many liberals zionist.
        In fact the difference in what they want for themselves ‘here in the US and what they want for themselves ‘there in Israel has always been one of the hypocrisies among liberal zionist. Perhaps the liberals that champion a one state solution are closer to democracy, but many lib zios still insist on a Jewish majority, Jewish ruled state.

  6. Krauss
    January 22, 2013, 11:35 am

    Phil, seriously, write a book. Your gift of writing, but more importantly, your bravery of pointing out the obvious, is rare. I’m still waiting for Max Blumenthal’s book on Zionism but I want your thoughts too. As much as I appreciate your brilliance – it is no longer enough to get this little, this infrequently.

  7. American
    January 22, 2013, 11:51 am

    ”The answer is that liberal Zionism is a religious ideology of Jewish redemption, just as rightwing Zionism is, and its adherents are by and large religiously committed. They have kept their baby in the bathwater, even after the bathwater has turned into an open sewer. They are indisposed to face the truth out of core beliefs involving Jews and our destiny in western society.”

    I am confused by that part.
    They have some core beliefs that mesh with zionism/ Israel ‘and’ also with
    Jews destiny in the western world?
    What do they believe their destiny is in the western world…is it good as in ‘light onto the nations” re Israel and the Jews or bad as in another holocaust always
    around the corner? Or maybe both?
    These liberal zionist need to take Shlomo Sands revelations to heart regarding
    Jewish redemption and Israel and all the myths involved in it.
    So delusional I guess there’s really no point to questioning ..it just is whatever it is.

    • Philip Weiss
      January 22, 2013, 11:54 am

      Yes I agree they should read Shlomo Sand.
      I meant: that even these lib Zionists fear the rise of anti-Semitism in the west and therefore think they need a Jewish state. I think we need to interrogate this belief

      • American
        January 22, 2013, 12:52 pm

        One thing I can’t reconcile or understand is their fear of anti semitism while still engaging in activities to support the Jewish state (on the basis that it is the Jewish state) –that while not on the level of the hard core zionist,— still raises eyebrows among non Jewish Americans because of the extreme US favortism they demand, in most cases, for Israel despite it’s bad actions.
        Surely common sense would tell them there’s only so far they can continue to push that envelope without resentment finally emerging…resentment they claim to be afraid of, as in anti semitism always lurking under the surface needing only a nudge to ignite it.
        They say they are afraid of the tiger yet they poke at the tiger.
        The hard core anti semitism fear mongering zionist do more than poke the tiger, they kick it in the head.
        It makes no sense.

      • Citizen
        January 22, 2013, 8:52 pm

        “They say they are afraid of the tiger yet they poke at the tiger.”

        The zoo is such fun to poke around in so long as the cages are intact and the dumb poorly paid zoo guards are nearby.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 22, 2013, 1:29 pm

        this is just brilliant phil, one of your best. when are you going to get the recognition you deserve? everyone reads you and yet it goes, so often, unspoken. you’re so far ahead of the pack. so very far!

      • Frankie P
        January 22, 2013, 7:01 pm

        @Phil Weiss,

        “I meant: that even these lib Zionists fear the rise of anti-Semitism in the west and therefore think they need a Jewish state. I think we need to interrogate this belief.”

        This is one of the most important sentences I have seen on this website. Please post more articles that interrogate this belief. I believe that this interrogation can eventually lead to a path that could solve the I/P issue.

        FPM

      • Citizen
        January 22, 2013, 8:59 pm

        @ Frankie P
        When you constantly get away with so much and nobody important is the wiser or if wise to you, is also in cahoots with you, it still leaves the idea somebody, somewhere out there, who may become powerful– will let your miserable cats out of the bag in Main St at high noon on a business day. There, now that you know, how will this awareness solve the I/P issue?

      • JennieS
        January 23, 2013, 1:47 am

        Phil I definately agree you need to interrogate the belief that the safety of Jews depends on the exixtence of a Jewish state. The fact is that the creation of the state of Israel caused a huge rise in anti-Semitism amongst Arabs and Muslims and its ongoing behaviour is causing an increasing loss of sympathy in the west.

      • American
        January 23, 2013, 9:25 am

        “the belief that the safety of Jews depends on the existence of a Jewish state”

        IMO that was one of the most preposterous beliefs/propaganda pieces of the whole zio enterprise. Yea, put all the Jews in one place so they are like ducks in a barrel if anyone wants to get them. How on earth Jews fell for that I will never understand. It had to be holocaust hysteria trumping common sense and reason.
        And in reality it’s the total opposite—-the Jewish Zios outside of Israel who politic for protecting it is what keeps Jews in Israel safe or Israel existing more than Israel keeping world wide Jews safe.

  8. eljay
    January 22, 2013, 12:19 pm

    >> I believe that many liberal Zionists are going to get off the sinking ship. I think the ranks of Israeli critics will be swelled by former liberal Zionists, even ones of religious commitment, that their liberalism will win out and make the movement for Palestinian freedom stronger.

    If the “liberal Zionists” (past and present) on this site are any indication, liberal Zionists will get off the sinking ship only when they see it’s time to save their own skins. They will appear to be doing the right thing, but they won’t be doing it for the right and moral reasons.

    And, more than likely, they will be among the most righteous denouncers of Zio-supremacism, desperate to hide the fact that, up until the moment they jumped ship, they were very much part of and advocates for the supremacist system they are suddenly and so vocally denouncing.

    But I guess every little bit of opposition to Zio-supremacism helps.

    • Citizen
      January 22, 2013, 9:06 pm

      @ eljay
      So, you are saying those that finally jump the Israel First Zionist ship have made the belated decision that it’s really headed towards the ice? Just another episode of that ever-running serial on late night night cable TV called “Is it good for the Jews?”

      • eljay
        January 23, 2013, 9:23 am

        >> So, you are saying those that finally jump the Israel First Zionist ship have made the belated decision that it’s really headed towards the ice?

        For “liberal Zionists” to abandon the injustice and immorality of Zionism now is to make a positive moral choice. For “liberal Zionists” to abandon Zionism only once it has become full-blown pariah is to choose out of self-interest, not out of a sense of morality or justice, or because their liberalism has “won out”.

  9. seafoid
    January 22, 2013, 12:55 pm

    “even these lib Zionists fear the rise of anti-Semitism in the west and therefore think they need a Jewish state”

    Most people couldn’t care less at this stage. When gay marriage is a policy of the UK Tory party and women are in government why should a third element of the traditionally shafted triumvirate of women, sexual minorities and religious minorities have to turn to neo fascism ?

    What may well eventually hold Jews in a very unflattering light is what Israel does now. But that is not set in stone. And Judaism is surely better than Zionism.

  10. dbroncos
    January 22, 2013, 1:03 pm

    “I am actually hopeful. I believe that many liberal Zionists are going to get off the sinking ship. I think the ranks of Israeli critics will be swelled by former liberal Zionists, even ones of religious commitment, that their liberalism will win out and make the movement for Palestinian freedom stronger.”

    I agree, Phil. I imagine that that many of Israel’s most ardent critics were once unquestioning, liberal Zionists. Sooner or later their ranks will include former Zionists who will replace the Roger Cohens and Tom Freidmans of the world. Peter Beinart is perhaps someone who will ultimately turn away from Zionism and the “Jewish fascist” tag.

  11. Sin Nombre
    January 22, 2013, 1:11 pm

    You know, I really don’t give a shit “when will liberal Zionists give up on their dream.”

    What attracts my attention way way before that is how curious it is that gee, when we decide to impose some sanctions on Iran so as to help Israel, who just happens to get appointed to oversee same but a guy carrying a life-long torch for Israel?

    And when my country, having all sorts of its interests suffer by being enmeshed in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, sits down with the Israelis and Palestinians to try to get an end to that conflict—i.e. just when a true fair moderator is most needed, for the huge sake of the U.S. too—who is sitting there as the President’s two top advisors other than Aaron David Miller and Dennis Ross? And who just happens to be our ambassador in Tel Aviv, tasked with giving our President advice on our interests over there? And on and on and on similarly everywhere one looks.

    And anyone who believes that all this kind of thing just happens to happen—and is seemingly never noticed by the media—and/or is due to merit, and is not the product of a wide, deep, systemic program of secret ethnic favoritism/self-help combined with corrupt political pressure, is a fool.

    So my question is more along the lines of … when will the [alleged] liberal Zionists stop using the United States like a piece of toilet paper in the service of their own personal devotion to a foreign power?

    Only secondarily then does the question of *whether* these folks will “give up on their [alleged] dream [regarding Zion],” the answer to which I believe is anyway already apparent and which is “never” because what they are already jettisoning is the “liberal” aspect of same vis a vis Israel so they can go visit and not have to rub shoulders with any vile gentiles, while insisting that any other country following anywhere near the same ethnic idea is evil incarnate.

    Rabbi Eric Yoffie, former President of the Union for Reform Judaism of the United States, explaining why he wants to move to Israel ultimately: “I prefer to live with jews.”

    So while for Phil the question is different, maybe the question for the rest of us gentiles is … how long do we have to pretend not to notice what is flaunted right in front of our faces? You just don’t *say* those kinds of things … you just don’t *do* those kinds of things … to people (i.e., us) who you genuinely like; who you genuinely regard as your equals; who you genuinely believe to be of equal importance to you and yours. To people who don’t deserve to be taken advantage of….

    How long do we have to pretend not to notice the deep, systemic contempt we are held in?

    • Citizen
      January 22, 2013, 9:13 pm

      “How long do we have to pretend not to notice the deep, systemic contempt we are held in?”

      As long as your fixed marriage benefits are more than if you ran away from your picked spouse? You do need a decent job, don’t you?

  12. sardelapasti
    January 22, 2013, 1:46 pm

    “The answer is that liberal Zionism is a religious ideology of Jewish redemption, just as rightwing Zionism is, and its adherents are by and large religiously committed.”

    Not a fact. Zionism is very obviously nothing more than nationalist illusion produced in the wake of 19th C German nationalism, and had its first successes by opposing religious Jews, who were coopted later. It still remains totally independent from any religious belief, commitment or feeling, no matter the takeover of government by the religious.
    Zionism remains a major danger as long as it seems acceptable to anyone to talk of a “Jewish” ethnicity or culture or any identification independent of religion.

  13. American
    January 22, 2013, 2:26 pm

    2007

    “Slowly, deliberately and dispassionately,” writes William Grimes in the New York Times today, the two authors “lay out the case for a ruthlessly realistic Middle East policy that would make Israel nothing more than one of many countries in the region.” Many of the arguments in support of this proposition, notes Grimes, “are familiar ones.” And it is therefore “a little odd” that Mearsheimer and Walt “generate such heat.”

    Is there any reason besides the fact that Israel is the Jewish State that it should be anything more than one of many countries in the ME wrt US FP or even if we had a formal treaty or alliance with Israel that it should any more than just another ally?
    If after ’48 it had not been given US support it might have survived as something different than what it is.

    When you take away the spin of shared values and Israel being a US asset what are you left with? You’re basically left with Jewish victimhood enshrined as a nation that has now become a hard core victimizer itself.
    I do think liberal zionist are dreaming—-they still demand we support Israel and protect it from it’s crimes—- and at the same time ‘save it from itself’. I dont see how that can be done.
    I am wondering if O even wants to re engage on I/P. He might have decided ‘to neglect’ Israel despite the damage to Palestines and let it sink into it’s own pit — or hope that (maybe encourage) the Europeans and Arabs will take up the slack and push forward on it.
    I guess we’ll see.

  14. DICKERSON3870
    January 22, 2013, 3:32 pm

    RE: “Stuart Levey was for many years the Under Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, responsible for pushing sanctions against Iran . . . Of course we have seen many other ardent Zionists in high political position. . . But you can safely assume that Levey was never asked about these matters when he came before Congress” ~ Weiss

    SEE: “From Irgun to AIPAC: Israel Lobby’s US Treasury Follies Hurt”, by Grant F. Smith, Dissident Voice, 12/16/08

    [EXCERPT]. . . AIPAC and its associated think tank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), were instrumental in lobbying the president for the creation of the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence unit early in 2004. The Israel lobby also vetted Stuart Levey who President Bush approved to lead the new unit. TFI claims to be “safeguarding the financial system against illicit use and combating rogue nations, terrorist facilitators, weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferators, money launderers, drug kingpins, and other national security threats.” However its actions—and more important, inactions—reveal it to be a sharp-edged tool forged principally to serve the Israel lobby. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to dissidentvoice.org

    • DICKERSON3870
      January 22, 2013, 10:41 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “Who is Responsible for Medicine Shortages in Iran?” ~ by Farideh Farhi, LobeLog.com, 1/21/13

      In an interview with BBC Persian, Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen [Stuart Levey's sucessor] says that his department’s assessment is that reports published regarding serious and extensive shortages of medicine in Iran are exaggerated. . .
      . . . Journalist Mohammad Manzarpour should be given kudos for not allowing Cohen to get away with this rather careless comment.
      Stepping away from the question of exactly how an official of the US Treasury Department — or anyone else for that matter — is able to make an accurate assessment of conditions on the ground in Iran without sufficient data, Manzarpour shifts the conversation to reports from family members in Western Europe and the US who have been asked to send medicine to Iran for serious illnesses such as cancer, and the fact that due to financial sanctions, even Iran’s private sector has had a difficult time getting letters of credit for importing medicine or ingredients for the production of medicine inside Iran. According to another report by BBC Persian, Iran’s purchase of medicine from Europe has dropped by 30 percent in the past 5 months. Furthermore, despite the issuance of licenses by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for exporting medicine to Iran, banks continue to refuse transactions. (Eric Ferrari, a Washington-based sanctions attorney, describes the Treasury department’s licenses regarding food and medicine as essentially useless).
      Manzarpour’s questioning forces Cohen to acknowledge that Iranian imports of medicine may have been reduced. Channels may have narrowed in comparison to 5 years ago, Cohen states, but there are still reliable channels for the import of food, medicine, and medical equipment. . .
      . . . By this time, an irritated Cohen realizes that he has been caught. No, he’s not saying that the US is indifferent to the negative side-effects of sanctions on people who had no role in the making of Iran’s nuclear program; sanctions have not been designed to harm people; the Treasury Department is in contact with financial institutions everyday so that they understand the boundaries of sanctions and know what is allowed and what is not; and we will continue our talks with suppliers of food, medicine, and medical equipment as well as with financial institutions . . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to lobelog.com

  15. DICKERSON3870
    January 22, 2013, 3:42 pm

    RE: “Zionism is the modern quest to realize the 2000 year old Jewish dream to return to the Holy Land and re-establish Jewish sovereignty . . .” ~ Stuart Levey

    MY COMMENT Return? Re-establish?

    SEE: “New Study Shows Yeshiva University Researcher, Others Appear To Have Cooked The Genetic Books To ‘Prove’ Middle Eastern Origin Of The Jewish People When One May Not Really Exist”, by Shmarya Rosenberg, FailedMessiah.com, 12/29/12

    “My research refutes 40 years of genetic studies, all of which have assumed that the Jews constitute a group that is genetically isolated from other nations,” Dr. Eran Elhaik says.
    That’s because Jews were never genetically isolated
    , making those other studies fatally flawed and very often contradictory.
    Now Elhaik, in a study that is being called more profound than all of those that came before his combined, has exposed that fatal flaw and is the first to propose a viable way resolve those contradictions, Ha’aretz reports.
    The answer to the origin of the Jewish people Elhaik found is startling – for most of us, out Jewish origins really do begin with the Khazars, the Medieval central Asian people whose ruling elite (and perhaps its merchant class, as well) converted to Judaism.
    The 32-year-old does his work at the School of Public Health of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. His study was published earlier this month as, “The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses”, in the prestigious journal, ‘Genome Biology and Evolution’, which is published by Oxford University Press. This study is based on a complete analysis of the comprehensive genetic data published in preceding studies.
    But in the absence of genetic data for the long-lost Khazars themselves, Elhaik uses a procedure often used by researchers in his field – he used data from populations that are genetically similar to the Khazars, including Georgians, Armenians and Caucasians, populations that Elhaik says have all come from the same genetic soup.
    When doing so Elhaik discovered what he calls the Khazar component of European Jewry.
    According to his study’s findings, the dominant element in the genetic makeup of European Jews is Khazar. Among Central European Jews, this makes up the largest part of their genome, 38%. For East European Jews it does the same, at 30%.
    Elhaik found that European Jews genome is mostly Western European.
    “[They are] primarily of Western European origin, which is rooted in the Roman Empire, and Middle Eastern origin, whose source is probably Mesopotamia
    [a name for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, corresponding to modern-day Iraq, the northeastern section of Syria and to a lesser extent southeastern Turkey and smaller parts of southwestern Iran - J.L.D.], although it is possible that part of that component can be attributed to Israeli Jews,” he told Ha’aretz by phone from Maryland.
    That possibility is important because, if it turns out to be true, it could connect European Jews to Israel. However, even if it is true, that connection is only a tiny part of the overall genome, a percentage so small that it would reportedly not be statistically significant enough to show that the origin of the Jews is the Kingdom of Judah in the biblical Land of Israel. . . . .

    SOURCE – link to failedmessiah.typepad.com

    • DICKERSON3870
      January 22, 2013, 3:53 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “Why no Israeli government will ever impose mandatory IDF service on the ultra-Orthodox”, By Steven A. Cook, +972blog, 1/19/13
      Compulsory military service for yeshiva students is a popular issue for secular politicians. But Shas and other Orthodox parties will continue to get their way on this issue, partly because of Israel’s fragmented electoral system, but also largely because Zionism depends on the haredim for its raison d’être.

      Although compulsory military service for yeshiva students is popular among Israelis and thus a good issue for secular politicians, Shas and other Orthodox parties will continue to get their way on conscription and a variety of other issues. That is the way it has been and likely the way it will continue to be. A good part of the explanation for this has to do with Israel’s electoral system, which can best be described as “disproportionate representation,” but there is something else going on that is at the heart of the Zionist project that gives the Haredim and other prominent religious voices far more sway than most Israelis prefer. Setting aside the gauzy images of secular sabras tilling fields, Paul Newman in Exodus, and more contemporary high-tech entrepreneurs who got their start in Unit 8200, the army’s intelligence unit, Israel is dependent on the Haredim. Not financially, of course, but without the likes of Yosef, other ultra-Orthodox rabbis and their followers, secular Israelis have no better claim to the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea than the Palestinians do. . .

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to 972mag.com

      • DICKERSON3870
        January 22, 2013, 4:03 pm

        P.P.S. MY COMMENT: The Likudnik Revisionist Zionists desperately want everyone to acknowledge “the Jews’ 4,000-year connection” to their homeland* [Judea and Samaria (a/k/a the occupied West Bank)] so that it will legitimate Israel’s continued colonization and ultimate annexation of the West Bank.
        Consequently, the Likudniks were very upset by Obama’s having referred to the Holocaust, etc. as justifying Israel’s existence in his June 2009 Cairo speech. For instance, check out this whiny ‘hissy fit’ by Melanie Phillips in the Spectator on 6/04/09.
        While the Holocaust, etc. might well justify the existence of Israel, the Eretz Israel crowd fears that the international community might not see the Holocaust as necessarily justifying Israel’s absorption of “Judea and Samaria”
        [a/k/a the "disputed" West Bank (f/k/a the occupied West Bank)] . To remedy this, the Likudniks want the “Biblical narrative” used to justify Israel’s existence because they see it as being more specific to “Judea and Samaria”.
        By referring to Israel as the ‘historic homeland’ of ‘the Jewish people’ in his 2010 speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Obama has – for the settlers in the West Bank and their supporters – acknowledged that “Judea and Samaria” is/are a legitimate part of Israel. That was probably the final nail in the coffin of the two-state solution. Of course, the two-state solution had long been in an advanced state of Rigor mortis, so a proper Christian burial was probably in order.
        Obama is a Christian, right? I can never keep that straight.

        * P.P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “Oren rationalizes Israel’s isolation (then rants about Abbas denying 4000 years of Jewish homeland)”, By Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, 10/16/11
        LINK – link to mondoweiss.net

  16. W.Jones
    January 22, 2013, 4:34 pm

    Philip,

    You ask a good question: “When is enough enough?”

    I think the answer might be either when (A) it is impossible to rationalize anymore or (B) when it directly and strongly goes against their own interests.

    (A) would be when it is officially non-democratic and calls itself “Apartheid”. You correctly pointed out that they are willing to be ignorant or rationalize away the discriminatory situation. You pointed out that many of Kahane’s ideas are “mainstream” there, yet they are still silent about it. Nonetheless, they were willing to openly oppose Kahane, because as you showed, it revealed “fault lines.” I’m sure that if the State openly put up posters of Mussolini and Apartheid South Africa, it would be too obvious.

    For the moment, Netanyahu and the State prefers to talk about itself as the “only democracy in the Middle East”. Of course, it doesn’t seem likely that the State would choose to call itself Apartheid or “non-democratic”, so A does not seem likely.

    (B) would happen if the country openly opposes America in general, denies its American supporters the ability to immigrate, and basically treats them like it does the Palestinians. That is because people to a big extent act based on their own interests. Once the material interest is gone, they would oppose it or at least become completely indifferent. One example was the unpopular anti-Christmas advertisements. If the State criminalized Christianity in general, that could do it. Of course, Saudi Arabia bans it, and that country is a US ally.

    Of course, so long as there is a wealthy state dedicated to them that will give them citizenship with practically no effort, it doesn’t make sense why they would strongly oppose that state.

    I’m also doubtful that simply having the situation get worse for Palestinians will itself wake them up. The Nakba was about as bad as anything one might expect, short of complete genocide like in Cambodia. The State’s supporters can just “not know” about the bad things or use fear tactics (“Arabs are dangerous”) so long as the State paints things that way.

    So outside of the State officially rejecting democracy or opposing its supporters in the US, it seems worth being skeptical about.

  17. DICKERSON3870
    January 22, 2013, 6:09 pm

    RE: “Israel’s record is virtually devoid of organized anti-Arab extremism in the political realm” ~ Levey in 1985

    SEE: “The true legacy of Yitzhak Shamir”, libcom.org

    (EXCERPT) . . . [F]ormer Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has gained a posthumous reputation as a great man of peace in spite of having ordered the expulsion of 50,000 to 70,000 [3] Palestinians from the cities of Lydda and Ramle in 1948 [4] and having allegedly ordered Israeli troops to break the bones of Palestinian protesters during the First Intifada [which began in December of 1987 - J.L.D.].[5] . . .

    3. Benny Morris, “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited” (Cambridge University Press, 2004), 425.
    4. “Benny Morris, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War” (Yale University Press, 2008), 290.
    5. Amira Hass, “Broken bones and broken hopes,” Haaretz, 4 Nov. 2005, link to haaretz.com (accessed 1 July 2012).

    SOURCE – link to libcom.org

  18. Citizen
    January 22, 2013, 9:31 pm

    If you are brought up as a child (especially by subtle matrix of nuances) to loath and fear your neighbor, you will still be doing this when you die; it functions like comfort food, even if you later learn that’s called Spam, insects, or Starlac milk.

  19. chinese box
    January 22, 2013, 10:08 pm

    This new “centrist” coalition, along with some empty peace processing by Obama, might breathe new life into liberal zionism.

  20. Mac
    January 23, 2013, 12:21 am

    “The answer is that liberal Zionism is a religious ideology of Jewish redemption, just as rightwing Zionism is, and its adherents are by and large religiously committed.”

    That says it all Phil! Irrational attachment to contradictory ideas is not limited to traditional religions. Secular patriotism or nationalism are no different in the way they wire the human brain than your regular, Big Daddy in the sky, religious beliefs .

  21. Ellen
    January 23, 2013, 4:46 am

    I do not know where to post this, but it does relate to Phil’s question.

    link to thestory.org

    “Home is not a rational choice.” This was produced yesterday on American Public Radio in NC. I have not listend to all of it, but striking is that the producer brings to life the absolute “insanity” (to use his own word he repeats over and over) of the conflict, and that he allows humanity for both sides. (A new view in American media.)

    He shows there are groups of Palestinians and Israelis working together to rise above the insanity of the conflict.

    This is not great big NPR, but smaller public radio in Minnesota, with it’s affiliate in North Carolina. There is no affiliate station in New York City. Most are in the Northern Midwest.

    Zionist ideologies will not be given up in centers of power like NY or D.C. or education mills for the elite. There is too much vested interest in a status quo and that could explain why a supposedly informed and intelligent 22-year-old could have willfully ignored the forces behind the Lebanon invasion — a turning point for many thinking people.

    The broadcast above is really worth a listen. It is a taste of voices to come.

Leave a Reply