Thank you for the constructive response. Maybe my personal apprehension around the word "tribalism" might also come from the fact that it is much more loaded in France. These last five years it has been mobilized in the public space by the truly vehement far right and antisemitic agitator Alain Soral. And I'm talking about real antisemitism here, not Israeli propaganda masquerading critiques of its State as "antisemitism".
Back to the topic at hand. Another blind spot I forgot to mention in my previous message is that so much of the Israeli State apparatus' strength comes not from Jewish autonomy and solidarity, but from Western support because the State of Israel is seen as one of its peers, it is seen as a "villa in the jungle", a "key allie" and of course a vital economic partner (especially regarding the military-industrial complex). This is one of the reasons why a lot of the European far right forces have shifted towards a pro-Israel stance regardless of their past or present antisemitism. There are other variables of course: the state of Israel was chosen by Europe and America to discard themselves of Jewish refugees after the Holocaust, the non-Jewish elements of the pro-Israel lobbieS.
As for "Universalism", I am maybe not as optimistic as you are on American, or French for the matter, universalism. American "Universalism" was also undercut by racism and (inner) colonialism. Furthermore, "universalism" in one or its other forms has also been an argument to deligitimise the black power, chicano or native-american movements.
Although I agree with some of the points made here, as usual, the use of "tribalism" by Philip Weiss is vastly counter-productive for different reasons:
- The problem is Power and Colonialism in the Middle East (and ultimately, the question of oppression) and how a they have been presented as the only viable option by both Jewish leaders and Western Societies to Jews after the Holocaust.
- Jewish "tribalism" has produced settlers, the Irgun and the national religious movement, but it has also produced the Satmar or the Bund. Both represent forces that had their issues and contradictions of course, especially the haredim, but never has today's jewish assimilationist antizionist left managed to mobilize against the Israeli state as the haredim or the old jewish socialism did.
- "Tribalism" does not in itself produce colonialism or oppressive states. The Roma people are "tribalists", they don't oppress anyone. The Ashaninka people in the Amazon are "tribalists" and don't oppress anyone. On the other hand, the French State views itself as "universalist", yet has actively supported the perpetrators of genocide in Rwanda and other similar acts. It massacred Algerians during their war of independence with no remorse while proclaiming its "universalism" at the same time. The same could be said about America of course. "Tribalism" is just not the central variable here.
Constantly mobilizing "tribalism" as something to oppose in order to reach an ideal of justice and equality between Jews and Palestinians saps the genuine efforts to combat pro-colonialism from within Jewish life. It prevents anti-colonialism from reaching the ears of people who have been brought up surrounded by the values and language of normative Judaism. It also strengthens the pro-israeli claim to Jewish legitimacy, protection and representation. Finally, it offers no real alternatives to zionism for Jews other than de facto assimilation into Western societies.
PS: That said, I do agree that bringing this debate out in the open within the US democratic party in this electoral context would help the cause.
So? From the Haskalah onward, "liberal" judaism has often been ever more influenced by European (and white) racism, being that it has accepted "modernity" (which is only the name to contemporary western thought and actions, even if horribly oppressive). "Liberal" judaism has accepted class domination, colonialism and so on just as much as other branches of judaism, if not more, which is not a surprise, since the jewish populations which tended to adopt "jewish liberalism" were those closest to privileged populations in the west in social class, taste, customs etc.
I don't see how this supposedly confirms Atzmon's vision of the world which is essentialist by nature, simplistic (he doesn't make a big difference between, say the Talmudic, the medieval and the contemporary eras in jewish thought) and assimilationist (judaism is evil by nature and jews should just become ordinary white westerners, loyal to their respective Nation States). The birth of colonialism (and it's historical follow-up, neocolonialism) is not the product of jewish social organization and jewish traditions (which is basically what Atzmon, who has never done research in his life, keeps talking about). Colonialism was born when the spanish conquered parts of the Americas. This was the first historical form of colonialism, very distinct from other forms of conquest. It's historical genesis has to be found, among other things, in the "reconquista" of Al Andalus and the expulsion of the jewish and muslim populations. It first used a modified version of catholicism to justify itself (the Valladolid controversy) and later, as colonialism was adopted by other European powers, started to use the language of "modernity" and "science" for justification.
This is unrelated to Talmudic or Medieval Jewish thought. But of course Atzmon needs to find something to cater to his antisemitic and white-supremacist friends (such as Alain Soral, from France), who generally do not give a fuck about Palestinians nor about the dignity of third world populations.
Yes and no, they only very slightly favored the Hamas's ancestor, Jamaa islamiya, when it was a charity movement but stopped doing so after discovering a weapon stock (my source is french political scientist Anthony Samrani on the topic). This idea is a bit of a western centric conspiracy theory, often shared by the arab lefts, in which movements who use an islamic political language can ONLY be a complete creation of the west, because a movement which uses an islamic political language can ONLY be barbaric and backward. This pretty much is a dismissal of the agency of arab people and their wish to do politics using the guidances that they see fit (in this case "islam" replacing other languages considered to be western in origin: secularist nationalism, marxism, neoliberal free market discourses etc.)
From a non-arab, non-muslim and non-palestinian perspective, we shouldn't feel attacked by this, just as we shouldn't feel attacked if politics in China are expressed using Confucian references.
And of course, this should make us reflect on the pseudo-universalist language some antizionist jews use to express themselves which is generally no more than a western-centric secular leftist language. We can also criticize zionism from within judaism.