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I’d much prefer an honest Zionist to a ‘liberal’ one

on 33 Comments

Yesterday the British Labour party tweeted a little animated message in which they argue that there are 80,000 homeless families in the UK and at the same time there are 174,000 ‘holiday’ homes sitting empty for most of the year. They propose that if a second home owner paid a small tax every year, it would generate £560 million per year that can get homeless families into permanent accommodation. The video concludes with the statement, “The homeless crisis shames us all. Together we can solve it.”

Alongside many supportive comments (including my own) there were comments such as,

“Further taxes are always the solution with Labour. Labour are the party of punishment through taxation.”

“Taking from people does not reward hard work or innovation. Encouraging and rewarding hard work whilst supporting those who need assistance is the best path. If someone works hard, succeeds and wishes to leave their family in a comfortable situation why not?”

“Why keep bringing more people into the Country, it doesn’t make sense?” or,

“…most people are just too lazy and think they should just have a house given to them. They spend money on going out eating, drinking and have no discipline. Yeah, it’s hard but hard work to save but it pays off. We can’t just keep taxing those who have worked hard!”

There was more. In one of my last responses I said, “ … I really wouldn’t want to meet some of the people on this thread if the world came to an end and I was hungry and in need of help …”

I remember how dismayed I felt in my youth when we studied Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) in political philosophy at university. Hobbes, an incredibly progressive thinker, one of the first to argue for example that women should have equal rights, also believed that humans were fundamentally selfish, aggressive and belligerent. He believed that if law and order broke down, the veneer of civilisation would quickly drop, reducing us to the competitive, ruthless savages that we are underneath. Hobbes knew we are capable of much more. But he believed we can’t be trusted under stress, in chaotic frightening times without a framework to keep us civilised. He thought we need to be regulated properly or we would descend into cruel savagery as soon as life became unstable for whatever reason.

At the time I thought Hobbes was a bit harsh. The truth is, he scared me. I was a young woman, just emerging into the adult world. I didn’t want to think that I was destined to live in the kind of precarious reality Hobbes described. I wanted to believe with all my heart that he was wrong, that he was just a product of his time. After all, he wrote this during the English Civil War (1642-1651). Those dark times made him disproportionately negative and bleak, our lecturer told us.

Now I think Hobbes wasn’t at all disproportionately negative or overly bleak. But the problem we face isn’t the openly ‘bad’ people in society. Looking at the twitter discussion prompted by Labour’s proposal, I was reminded of how much I really worry about the ‘nice’ people among us. Bad people are predictable. They tell you exactly what they think, who they hate and why, who they would harm if they had the power to do so.

Every generation of bad people tell you clearly that those ‘others’ (whomever they happen to be in that place and at that time in history) are the cause of all our problems. ‘They’ destroy ‘our way of life’, pollute our society, corrupt our institutions and our young, betray ‘our’ cherished and superior values, ‘steal’ the jobs of good hardworking people. They know the groups they hate, they name them. They are unashamed and impatient with those who feel the same as they do but pretend they do not.

Pauline Hanson in Australia, a far-Right Senator, recently labelled a nine-year old girl “brainwashed” and a “brat” and called for her to be kicked out of school because she refused to stand up for the Australian National Anthem. This self-aware girl was protesting against the Anthem’s shameless white supremacy. “I’d give her a kick up the backside,” Hanson said. As disgusting and ignorant as Hanson is, she is telling her truth. There is no ambiguity. You know exactly what she thinks. She never disappoints. You know exactly what to expect of her and what she would do if she could. We already know what happens when bad people get power. We have seen it all before more than once. We know it leads to genocide, horrendous violations, torture, injustice, unpunished lynching, rape, slavery, burnings, exploitation, institutionalised discrimination, horrendous poverty and deprivation. The key point here is that we know.

Bad people are open and clear about what they believe and the kind of society they want to live in. They are consistent and predictable. We also know what to do about them. It’s simple. If we want to prevent their nightmarish vision, we must ensure they never get enough power to fulfill their depraved fantasies.

It’s the ‘nice’ people that I worry about. I am not referring to the nice properly decent people who are openly supportive of sharing and caring of others. They are clear too and they too can be trusted to act on their beliefs. I am talking about the ‘nice’ people who are savages in sheep’s clothing and who are hiding in plain sight. They are the majority, the good hardworking people of our society. Those who do not use bad language, who do not raise their voices,  who appear to be rational, articulate, well-educated and who put forward intellectual arguments albeit devoid of any warmth or empathy except to their own.

Rabbi Daniel Zemel’s sermon on Yom Kippur to Temple Micah in Washington, D.C., demonstrates perfectly how dangerous ‘nice’ people really are. It’s hard to pick examples from his essay not because there aren’t enough. The whole thing embodies the problem that ‘nice’ people present for me. Read it if you can stomach it.

Zemel says:

I want to linger for a moment on the Israel I love and along with that the Zionism that defines so much of who I am. I sometimes call Zionism—the God that did not fail. In 1945 after our people had been stripped naked and destroyed before the entire world as witness, Zionism was the God that offered the surviving remnant a home when there was nowhere else to go. We forget that at great peril. Israel—is a life –boat and so much more.”

We stand on the narrow bridge of ethical Zionism forged by Herzl, Bialik, Ben Gurion, Jabotinsky, Begin and Rabin.

We cannot walk away because victory in the struggle for the Israel we want feels remote. We cannot abandon the struggle for Israel any more than we can abandon the struggle for America. It is not in our theological DNA. We cannot abandon that which we love.

Or he says:

Zionism is not a fad–or a passing interest–or a trend. Zionism is the contemporary name for the project that God first uttered to Abraham– go to the land that I will show you. No matter how one might try, it is impossible to wrench the land of Israel out of the Jewish equation.

Does Zemel not know that Zionism is a racist, settler-colonial movement? Does he not know that the creators of Zionism were perfectly aware that Palestine was fully populated? That they knew it would take ethnic cleansing to turn it into an exclusively Jewish ‘national home’? Of course he does. If he were an honest man, as the ‘bad’ people are, he would say so. But he does not.

I would like Zemel to take a lesson in honesty from the bad people. I would like him (and other ‘nice’ American or Western Zionist Jews) to say clearly and unequivocally that they believe that the Jewish people have more right to survive than the Palestinian people. I would like them to say clearly and unequivocally that they believe that it was justified to kick 750,000 Palestinians out of their homes and property and off their land, to destroy a whole nation, steal everything from them, kill, rape, massacre, displace and disinherit in order to ‘save’ their people.

You cannot say you love Israel or Zionism without admitting that fundamentally you believe that Zionist settler-colonialism and all its crimes are perfectly OK because the survival of your people justifies everything.

But no. Zemel and the people he is speaking to (including Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, who so approved the sermon) are dishonest to the core. They are afraid to expose the truth about what they really believe so they don’t even name it. The reason Zemel criticises the alleged shift to the Right in Israel is because he is afraid that the visibility of Israel’s fascism and racism will prompt a new wave of antisemitism. Zemel does not care about morality: all he cares about is the survival of his people no matter the cost to anyone else. In this he is identical to Israel’s leadership. I just want him to say so rather than cover it up with romantic, emotive nonsense.

Actually, I am pleased with the direction that Israel is taking. Israel has always been consistent in its badness, there is nothing new at all. But at least, like all openly bad people, Israel’s present ruling politicians tell the truth and so make the badness visible. For generations, pretend Left-wing politicians in Israel fulfilled the exact same fantasies right-wingers anywhere would love to fulfill but covered it up. They have committed unspeakable crimes against humanity right from the start. But they covered it up with pseudo rationality and civility for the benefit of the educated ‘nice’ and wealthy US and Western Jews. Now that Israel feels strong enough and economically independent it doesn’t need to pander to the fake lefties.

Now that Israel is run by the equivalents of Pauline Hanson, we finally have the truth in all its ugly, disturbing ‘glory’. Israel is run by people who are fed up with pretending for the benefit of a class of people they cannot relate to. Like proper Right-wing fascists everywhere they want to do what they do and shout about it from the rooftops because they believe they are right and are proud of what they are doing. They don’t want to hide any more, they don’t see why they need to. This is a good thing for the rest of us, because we now know what we are facing and we know what we have to do about it. The obfuscation and the confusion it creates are gone. Thank you, Benjamin Netanyahu!

I worry about ‘nice’ people who would drop the veneer of civility in a heartbeat as soon as they feel under threat. They don’t care if other people are homeless, if children grow up in poverty, or if whole nations are kicked off their land. They would commit crimes against their fellow humans without flinching, just so that their little group survives. But they pretend that this isn’t who they are. That discussion on Twitter was another demonstration that too many people are little and frightened and believe that they and those closest to them are worthier of survival than anyone else. They don’t want to share what they have as Labour suggests, because they believe they are entitled, just like Zionists do.

Zemel like all dishonest ‘nice’ people are an example of the worst of our species. They are tribalist, competitive, entitled, fear-based and ruthless but they hide it. I wish dishonest ‘nice’ people showed some courage and either joined the extreme right where they really belong, or changed their ways and started to walk the talk of the values they pay lip service to but deep down do not believe in.

Avigail Abarbanel

Avigail Abarbanel was born and raised in Israel. She moved to Australia in 1991 and now lives in the north of Scotland. She works as a psychotherapist and clinical supervisor in private practice and is an activist for Palestinian rights. She is the editor of Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012).

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33 Responses

  1. pabelmont on September 24, 2018, 1:35 pm

    Abarbanel lays it out as it is. There may — here or there — be a few LZ’s who have actually managed not to know and not to surmise Israel’s crimes from before 1948 until today. Mostly under age 15 I’d imagine. Lotta brainwashing goes on after all. Called education. Synagogues, I’d imagine, guilty of this nakba-denial — while denouncing holocaust-denial of course. (My truth is bigger than your truth, my pain is bigger than your pain.)

    But over age 15 they must be few. Most LZ’s must know most of this and be denying and distorting and hiding these truths deliberately or as the result of a psychological mechanism of denial. OK, the latter “need help” as the saying goes, but the former are the “nice” LZ’s that Abarbanel describes above.

    And they are indeed the dangerous ones. Democratic Party and the USA’s mainstream media are full of them and many are not even Jews. Just goes to show the power of “nice” Zionists. Wonderful and persuasive teachers are these “nice” Zionists! And most persuasive of course if they are rich.

    • Avigail on September 24, 2018, 2:07 pm

      @pabelmont — thank you. Yes, of course this isn’t a particularly Jewish phenomenon. In fact nothing is. This present ‘nice’ which underneath is deeply uncaring and uncivilised is human and you can see this in other contexts. Your example of the Democratic Party is spot on!

      • Maghlawatan on September 24, 2018, 2:36 pm

        Some things are more likely to be Jewish though. Any group that defines itself away from the rest (as x versus 1-x) is going to think differently.

        Malise Ruthven on the Alawis of Syria, also a minority

        “. Mainstream Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, regarded them as ghulta, “exaggerators.” Like other sectarian groups they protected their tradition by a strategy known as taqiyya—the right to hide one’s true beliefs from outsiders in order to avoid persecution. Taqiyya makes a perfect qualification for membership in the mukhabarat—the ubiquitous intelligence/security apparatus that has dominated Syria’s government for more than four decades.
        Secrecy was also observed by means of a complex system of initiation, in which insiders recognized each other by using special phrases or passwords and neophytes underwent a form of spiritual marriage with the naqibs, or spiritual guides. ”

        In both the Alawi and Jewish communities, problems , all problems, are solved internally. This is one reason why Israel mushroomed out of control. The community did not have the capacity to manage this alcoholic back to sobriety. Nobody else was trusted. Nobody else was allowed

        Hartman nails the issue here :
        “When one calls, however, for the boycotting or international sanctioning of Israel or the forcing of its government to adopt policies which are counter to the expressed will of its democratically elected government, even if one believes that one is doing so for the good of Israel, one is locating oneself on the side of our foes, a side that friends need to be wary of.
        If our community will be wise enough to expand the inner tent to make room for a wide spectrum of opinions, debate, criticism, and acts of protest and condemnation, there will be no need for members of our community to find their allies elsewhere, and ones who do so, will be therefore declaring where their allegiance truly lies.
        We are a people who believe that criticism is an act of love and loyalty. We are also a people who believe that there is a criticism out of love, and a criticism which is not.”

        Another “very Jewish” aspect was the Goldstone affair where the judge was publicly defrocked because he dared question Israeli behaviour in Gaza. Israel took control of the message but nothing changed subsequently.

        And then there is Messianism.

        Israeli groupthink is special. It may not be unique but it has done so much damage just by being special.

  2. Maximus Decimus Meridius on September 24, 2018, 2:16 pm

    I absolutely agree with you. “Liberal” Zionists are a bit like cheese eating vegans. They cannot logically exist. It’s all just a form of moral dishonestly. The likes of Jonathan Freedland wailing over the ‘soul of Israel’ and alluding to some mythical ‘good’ Israel in days of yore – one which of course never existed and never COULD exist, because Zionism – by definition – involves the belief that one group of people is simply more valuable than another, and that latter group needs to be made to disappear, either literally or in terms of robbing them of all political power.

    These ‘liberal’ Zionists are currently having a hell of a time dealing with all the ‘Nation State’ shenanigans. Not because they change anything on the ground – they really don’t – but because they make it impossible to ignore the reality of what Israel is. And ‘liberal’ Zionists hate, more than anything, being made to look bad.

    BTW not entirely on topic but since you mention Labour, I’m mildly – but pleasantly – suprised that no new ‘anti-semitic remarks’ have ’emerged’ to chime in nicely with the conference in Liverpool. Such ‘revelations’ have always ’emerged’ at highly convenient times in the past, so are we to take it that the anti-semitism barrell has been well and truly scraped? Let’s hope so!

    • Maghlawatan on September 24, 2018, 2:52 pm

      LZ’s like Freedman gave Israel a pass all the way to 2014

      Gideon Levy

      “this is one of Israel’s ugliest hours. All the seeds of ultra-nationalism and messianism that have been planted over the past several years are germinating now and blooming in the flower beds of rot. All of the Israeli hatreds have reared their heads in the wake of the kidnapping of three yeshiva students whose place of learning is in the heart of the occupied territory. All of the destructiveness and the intolerance for other views, all of the unity and the falling into rank in Israel have now assembled for the biggest display of ultra-nationalism ever. All the seeds of religiosity have sprouted into a mass prayer service led by the television broadcasters, every single last one of which has volunteered for propaganda duty. No one questions the mass arrests, the re-imprisonment of the Palestinians who were freed in the Gilad Shalit exchange deal, the arrests of members of the Palestinian parliament, the deportations to the Gaza Strip and the warmongering. Anyone who does has sealed his own fate. ”

      And it is even worse today

      There is no amount of lipstick that can make that pig look sexy. Very tough for the LZ brigade.

  3. Keith on September 24, 2018, 6:08 pm

    This is a bit off topic, but germane to the question of honesty and the world of illusion we live in. Putting aside legal financial corruption like financial terrorism (currency speculation) and vulture capitalism, how many are aware that our financial system has been intentionally constructed to facilitate the laundering of drug money? I link to a fascinating 30 minute interview with Professor Michael Hudson made in conjunction with a documentary concerning the financialization of Britain. It is the top video and well worth the look to see how the world really works. The first 5 minutes should be an eye opener for those not normally interested in finance. As I have said in the past, capitalism is essentially the monetization of power. Money is power. This is important. Link to Michael Hudson interview re: attracting dollar from crime:

    • Avigail on September 24, 2018, 6:43 pm

      @Keith — I think. It is on topic actually… Thanks for the link. Will watch.

  4. yogurt on September 24, 2018, 10:39 pm

    Thank you so much for this article Avigail. You eloquently articulated what I have been thinking for years. As Martin Luther King said “Lukewarm acceptance, is more bewildering than outright rejection”

    Liberal Zionists exhibit lukewarm acceptance of the Palestinian people. They pretend not to be racist. Regular Zionists don’t pretend, which is less irritating.

    • RoHa on September 25, 2018, 7:41 pm

      I hope MLK actually said “Lukewarm acceptance is more bewildering than outright rejection”.

  5. Avigail on September 25, 2018, 4:53 am

    @yogurt — Thank you for your comment and I am glad what I wrote validates what you have been thinking too. Thanks also for Martin Luther King’s quote. Someone included the full quote on FB with the link to this article and it really does echo well. I feel I am in good company with you and others.

    The thing is that every time I write anything I think I am stating the obvious. But it’s clearly not obvious to the Zionists who have been commenting on this and other writings of mine. Sadly, they are unable to remove themselves even for a second from the tribalist mindset and resort to the well-practiced knee-jerk reaction that I am hateful, ignorant, etc…

    Since I used to be there myself I guess it’s hard to really judge them. I know what it’s like to see the world from within the cult. What I cannot forgive though is the crime they (and me in my previous incarnation) have been supporting.

  6. Talkback on September 25, 2018, 5:43 am

    Liberal or not. The first president of Israel Chaim Weizman always knew that he and his fellow Zionists are criminals preparing for a coup d’etat by a Jewish shadow goverment in the mandated state of Palestine:

    “If you came to me today and said: ‘The Jews in America must create a state within a state’, I should say that you are criminals. You dare not do it. But in Palestine, which is going to be our future state, I ask that the creation of a state within a state be adopted, and that the inner state should develop gradually and impress the other state.”

    From the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry (1946):
    Jews, Arabs and Government
    “The State Within the State”

    1. The Jews have developed, under the aegis of the Jewish Agency and the Vaad Leumi, a strong and tightly-woven community. There thus exists a virtual Jewish nonterritorial State with its own executive and legislative organs, parallel in many respects to the Mandatory Administration, and- serving as the concrete symbol of the Jewish National Home. This Jewish shadow Government has ceased to cooperate with the Administration in the maintenance of law and order, and in the suppression of terrorism.”

    It’s quite funny to suggest that the Jewish shadow goverment would even think about cooperating to suppress Jewish terrorism. They bombed the King David Hotel to erase all evidence that they were actually heading Jewish terrorism.

    • Avigail on September 25, 2018, 5:25 pm

      @Talkcack – They always knew. Right from the start of Zionism. Zionists either prefer to ignore it or defend the indefensible because they believe their group has more right to exist. All I’m asking is that they be honest about it and admit the truth. Funny the reaction M’s im getting. As usual they attack the messenger rather than listen to the messages. Ho hum. Can’t blame a girl for trying…

  7. JimMichie on September 25, 2018, 9:35 am

    Oh, please, that is like saying you would “prefer an honest Klansman to a ‘liberal’ one.” REALLY!

    • DaBakr on September 26, 2018, 12:47 pm


      . Just as everybody wants to know if the author stopped beating his wife

  8. wondering jew on September 25, 2018, 11:12 am

    On the topic of revenge and tribalism as toxicity and trauma: Madeline Albright’s parents reacted to the Holocaust by converting and never telling their daughter that they were Jewish. The
    Zionist school system taught that the Holocaust was the result of some irrational hatred of Jews that could not be appeased in the past and could never be appeased in the future and so the only rational reaction was a state and an army. 73 years after the end of WWII, we have a bit of a distance and might see both reactions as traumatic and irrational. Madeline Albright had a fine career and it is up to historians and arm chair psychoanalysts to interpret her decisions in the light of her parents’ choice of amnesia. The after effects of the Zionist school system are not so lukewarm.
    In general I do not approve of amnesia and it is only the constant warfare of the Zionist enterprise (plus the messianic element added to the mix) that makes the alternative of amnesia more attractive. Still, I do not advocate amnesia.
    Some react to the constant warfare by advocating amnesia. This choice might be available to all, but in fact human nature will include a population percentage that will be attracted to amnesia and a population percentage that will reject it.
    Previous to the abyss of ’39 to ’45, because of modernity and the demands of the melting pot of America, I do not see the Jewish saga as encouraging. There is tremendous depth involved in certain aspects of the religious practice of Judaism and the study of the history of the Jews, but other aspects of the religion are superficial and worthy of ridicule and the study of the history can either lead to obsession or a decision to relegate the entire enterprise to history, meaning the past and to move on. The complication of such a historic event complicating the process of modernization and assimilation would have resulted in plumbing the wide varieties of human responses that are part of the human species and psyche(s). The Zionist alternative to this process is interesting, although harmful to the Palestinians and obviously harmful to those who feel that tribal identity is all trauma and revenge and negativity. There are sufficient positive aspects to Judaism and Jewish identity that these are undeserving of amnesia and can provide rich human experiences to those who eschew amnesia. But the question now is how to undo the harm done to the Palestinians.

    • Mooser on September 25, 2018, 11:33 am

      “WJ”, it’s been a long time since lorem ipsum attacks could crash a website.

      • eljay on September 25, 2018, 11:52 am

        || Mooser: “WJ”, it’s been a long time since lorem ipsum attacks could crash a website. ||

        It often seems like y.f. is engaging in some sort of verbosotherapy to ease the torment he suffers for his profound devotion to an ideology and a construct he knows full well are unjust and immoral.

      • wondering jew on September 25, 2018, 11:58 am

        The advocates of amnesia have spoken.

      • eljay on September 25, 2018, 12:35 pm

        || wondering jew: The advocates of amnesia have spoken. ||

        Not at all. I don’t think anyone should ever forget how Jews – and non-Jews – have suffered. And I don’t think anyone should ever forget how much effort you and your supremacist co-collectivists have put into advocating, executing, maintaining, justifying, defending and supporting your preferred brand of evil.

      • Mooser on September 25, 2018, 2:33 pm

        “The advocates of amnesia have spoken.”

        “Vas you dere, Charlie?”

  9. punterweger on September 25, 2018, 12:42 pm

    Thanks for this fine article! It so plainly states the great danger that all identity based moral codes or ideologies pose. It is one thing to say: I grew up in this group, I appreciate what I experienced and learned, and was shaped by it, but I recognise that other people have similar feelings about their lives, and that none of these lives are superior to any other. But there is also the diametrically opposed world view, which claims that our group and its history is different from any other and that therefore our needs take precedence over others. One day, during the hard, hungry years after WWII in Vienna, my father said that he loved me, but that he would never take food from another child to feed me. I was not upset, but have believed ever since that this is the standard everyone should be held to. Zionism and Zionists fail this test.

    • Avigail on September 25, 2018, 5:31 pm

      @punterweger — wow, what an amazing, enlightened lesson to learn from your father! So inspiring. Yes, Zionism and Zionists are failing the test of humanity.

  10. amigo on September 25, 2018, 3:14 pm

    Personally , I can,t stand any sort of zionist .

    Can,t tolerate listening to defenders of the indefensible.

  11. hophmi on September 25, 2018, 3:40 pm

    “Zemel like all dishonest ‘nice’ people are an example of the worst of our species.”

    Just cannot understand why people dislike anti-Zionists so much. Maybe it’s because so many of them of misathropic nasty people who clearly can’t disagree without hating anyone who doesn’t think as they do.

    • Mooser on September 25, 2018, 4:04 pm

      Baa-baa “Hophmi”, have you any wool? Yes sir, yes sir, one sentence full.

      What ever happened to your seminal essays, “Hoph”? What reduced you to a few pathetic bleats?

    • Avigail on September 25, 2018, 5:42 pm

      @hophmi— 😊 No, I think *you* dislike *us* because we place a mirror in front of you that makes you very uncomfortable. Btw, I don’t at all feel disliked. I’m grateful for my lot in life and am in excellent company with all those who believe all humans are born equal and that everyone has an equal right to survive and live a full life.

      I’m pleased I’m an anti-Zionist. It’s such a relief. How can I support settler-colonialism by anyone? Do you support the destruction of indigenous people? Why don’t you admit the truth that you believe your group is more worthy of survival than everyone else? This is what the article calls for after all.

      You do realise, I hope, that you’re making my point for me… 🤔

    • Talkback on September 26, 2018, 5:28 am

      hophmi: “Maybe it’s because so many of them of misathropic nasty people who clearly can’t disagree without hating anyone who doesn’t think as they do.”

      You are obviously confusing Anti-Zionists with people like you, hophmi. It doesn’t get more misathropic and nasty than preventing people to return and it takes a lot of hatred and racism to support this.

    • Mooser on September 26, 2018, 1:47 pm

      . “Maybe it’s because so many of them of misathropic nasty people”

      For “Hophmi’s” best girl, Miss Ann Thropic.

  12. wondering jew on September 26, 2018, 12:38 am

    On the topic of preferring honest Zionists to liberal Zionists like Zemel. I think Abarbanel has picked an easy target. Zemel’s words are as close as possible to the middle of the road Zionism and though he reflects his congregants’ repulsion regarding Netanyahu, he also represents his congregants’ desire to believe that the pre Netanyahu leaders were pure in their hearts and deeds, which is not true. It could be that this desire to cut near to the center of the road has caused the rabbi to model his rhetoric rather than a pursuit of truth. I do not hear the cool air of honesty nor the heat of thought out direction for the future in the rabbi’s words. But this is an easy target. Try Zehava Galon. She is a true liberal Zionist, not trying to curry favor with congregants of varying opinions, but speaking her mind. Do you really prefer Netanyahu and Bennet and Smotrich to Zehava Galon, Ms. Abarbanel?

    • echinococcus on September 26, 2018, 2:50 am

      You’re talking nonsense again, Jonas. For a change.
      Of course those people, Merkava Gallon and her likes, are miles more dangerous than the blood-dripping barbarians: they give a pretext to their Western accomplices for pretending to believe that they are civilized, humane and all the rest of the good-Zionist nonsense.

      This, of course, offered without presuming to know Ms. Abarbanel’s take on it. But your brand of pretend-meek genocidaires are more dangerous any day.

    • Avigail on September 26, 2018, 4:42 am

      @wondering Jew— I prefer people who tell the truth, whatever it happens to be. It means that I know where I stand with them and what I need to do.

      I don’t like so-called ‘liberal’ Zionists who think of themselves as good people who feel for those who suffer, but do not admit that they support Jewish Zionist settler-colonialism and what it has been doing to the indigenous people of Palestine. When it comes to the Palestinians and to Israel all that concern for their fellow human beings evaporates. They don’t admit openly their belief that everything is permissible in the name of the survival of *their own* people. Instead, they speak about Zionism in fictitious terms partly probably to try to ease their own cognitive dissonance. But when they do that it is just wicked and obscures the truth for everyone else who isn’t so well informed but is inclined to listen more to the nicer people in society. By so doing they also help Israel hide and cover up its crimes. They are a type of collaborator but one that pretends it is not.

      Listen, this isn’t new to me. The education system I went through in Israel in the 1960s and 1970s was all ‘liberal’ Zionist. The country was ruled back then by Labour governments with a socialist ethos and a very modern Western agenda. I’m intimately familiar with this.

      I don’t like any Zionists for the same reason I don’t like anyone with a colonial, supremacist, racist and entitled mindset. Yes, I much prefer Netanyahu and even Trump because they’re ignorant, unsophisticated, entitled idiots who don’t see anything wrong in saying and doing exactly what they want because they don’t see the problem with any of it. It’s easier to defend against this. ‘Liberal’ Zionists are the type of people who would say, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing but just don’t talk about it openly to anyone. Keep it quiet.’

      We know how to defend against people Netanyahu and Trump. Even their lies are like the lies of five-year-olds and can be easily exposed. No surprises there. It’s the more sophisticated and knowingly dishonest variety of people (in any area of life) I have a much bigger problem with. It’s them that keep us further away from solving problems we need to solve. I think my article is clear and I don’t really need to repeat myself.

      • Keith on September 26, 2018, 4:24 pm

        AVIGAIL- “Yes, I much prefer Netanyahu and even Trump because they’re ignorant, unsophisticated, entitled idiots who don’t see anything wrong in saying and doing exactly what they want because they don’t see the problem with any of it.”

        For what it is worth, the late, great Israel Shahak agrees!

        “In this, my second observation, I would go even farther than Sivan and say that, much as I abhor “Commentary,” I abhor “Tikkun” even more for its sanctimonious hypocrisy and for its methodical mendacity about everything that concerns Judaism. I prefer to deal with the overt chauvinism of a Podhoretz who is at least intelligible, than with ‘the politics of meaning’ of a Lerner devoid of any meaning and therefore more dangerous.” (p135, “Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies,” Israel Shahak)

  13. Avigail on September 26, 2018, 5:08 am

    One more point— the ‘liberal’ Zionist faction of the Zionist cult is more liberal indeed. But no matter the values they support, the cult always has to come first. The values take a back seat when there is a (perceived) threat to the survival of the cult.

    In other words, within the cult no matter where you are on the continuum of values and beliefs you’re still loyal to the cult first. It’s really that simple and it’s exactly what the Israeli education system taught us and how I myself was for a long time. Whether you’re a ‘Kill the Arabs’ sign holder at a rally in Tel Aviv, or someone who would never behave this way, you’re still a member of the same insular cult and you still support what it stands for. This is a schizophrenic existence. To be truly liberal and consistent in it it’s necessary to leave the cult.

    That’s what anti-Zionism means. It’s placing your values ahead of the group.

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