Friday, April 23, 2010

About those "Golus Jews"

The Obama administration is pursuing a foreign policy that it genuinely believes is in the best interests of America, and not coincidentally, Israel. We know this to be true, because the great ranks of American Middle Eastern analysts, experts and policymakers are swarming with Jews, as they have been for decades, and much more so, I imagine, than the State Department's South American division. It strains credulity that many of the same Jews, the kind that never thought to attend a meeting of the Peace Now radicals, who have labored to strengthen the US-Israeli strategic alliance through a quarter century are now cavalierly hellbent on destroying it. Nor can their positions be construed as a matter of personal weakness or squeamishness, as many of these experts routinely advise discharging munitions on a wide variety of human beings, without particular concern as to the price in blood of advancing American interests abroad.

To be clear, I believe that Rahm Emanuel would rather burn himself alive on the White House lawn than knowingly advance policies that substantially endanger either the State of Israel or the millions of Jews that call it home. Likewise, Jeremy Ben-Ami, of JStreet, is not a "self-hating Jew", a modern equivalent of Yevsekziya, or anything of the sort. The policies they advance are not "pie in the sky" conspiracies, concocted by dark of night in consultation with Amalek. Those who suggest that this is so do a disservice to the struggle being waged.

There are such Jews that hate their people, resent their heritage and seek to obliterate both, to varying degrees of intensity, stocked with rationalizations. I don't think such individuals are particular to the Jewish people, but given the unique strain on our faith, culture and physical security brought by twenty centuries of dispersion, added to the obligations of covenant and, without excess drama, the pull of destiny, it is not surprising that some among us will crack along the road. Rahm Emanuel and Jeremy Ben-Ami are not such Jews. Richard Goldstone is a troubling case, but to the extent that naiveté and incompetence are a defense, let's grant the man a benefit of doubt.

So cavalierly has the "bad Jew" label been bandied around of late, that I wonder if, for some, these pained, emotional outbursts at perceived betrayal are mere substitute for substance. As long as the Rahm Emanuels of our people can be denounced as traitors, sellouts, "golus Jews", the responsibility to intellectually counter the course of action they advocate can be ignored. The present sloganeering is utterly devoid of policy solutions, and has become intolerable to thinking people. "Vote Moshe Feiglin!" Why, what does he offer? "Torah values!" Why wait, let's bring these "Torah values" of his out now, when we need them most. He has a plan to go with those values, right? Right?

The anger is curdling now because the matters in question are coming to a head. Yet, where was the anger when, for twenty years, successive Israeli governments and American pro-Israel community promoted the notion of a negotiated two state solution? In all that time, not a single intelligent alternative emanated from the corner now branding as traitors the Jews who advance the only policy with institutional backing. Everyone went on with their lives, knowing that the Arabs would never really make peace with us, and all we had to do was let them prove it to the Americans. A concession here, a signed document there, a wink and a nod and let the Arabs show their true colors. Show their colors they did, the Arabs. Yet, the concession has been made, and the document has been signed, the wink was forgotten and the nod was really a sneeze. The process has overtaken reality in importance, but who created and accepted the premises on which that process rests?

Those who do not support a two state solution must state why clearly, and not in abstract theological or nationalist terms devoid of practical, day to day weight. That no comprehensive, intellectual alternative to the two state paradigm has broached the public discourse, much less diplomatic dialogue, through two decades is shameful. Instead we get excuses, self-pity, denial, emotional outbursts, all of which accomplish nothing. Nothing. Withdrawing from the debate while casting aspersions against those who choose to deal with reality in a pragmatic way is a disgrace.

Where is the 2000 page annexation plan? Where are the 7 autonomy options? Where's the polling data on offering permanent residency? Has anyone bothered to even count the Arabs in Yesha? Instead, those who argue against a two state solution are hit with embarrassment for company: let's expel three million people to Jordan at gunpoint. Why not to the moon? You'll drive? Who will make the sandwiches? Bardak!

Enough excuses, outbursts, sloganeering and demagoguery. Deal with reality in an intelligent, practical way or shut your mouth.


  1. here is a Lebanese supporter of March 14 who is deeply unhappy with American foreign policy in the Middle East
    - you probably find this column at the Daily Star also. He also writes sometimes for major American outfits and I read him because I feel sorry for the March 14 people and want to know how they fare, they meant so well and did so well and now they are abandoned by all because Hisbollah proves to be stronger than they are. If not a miracle happens evil will have won once again.

  2. Hey Silke, I've been following the collapse of the March 14th movement and America's disastrous Lebanon/Syria policy through the writing of Michael Totten, here and here.

    He can be eloquent:

    Understand the lay of the land. Syria is no more likely to join the de facto American-French-Egyptian-Saudi-Israeli coalition than the U.S. is likely to defect to the Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah axis. It’s as if the U.S. were trying to pry East Germany out of the Communist bloc during the Cold War before the Berlin Wall was destroyed.

    When the son of the slain Hariri is forced to Damascus to grovel for his political future, and probably his life, before the man who murdered his father... That's probably not a hopeful sign.

    The resistance bloc is gaining strength and momentum. Americans are tired of war, and some are eager for a scapegoat they can blame the tensions on, that being Israel. As Tottel writes often, the resistance bloc will not be appeased. It lives on conflict and Israel is but the "little Satan".

  3. thanks for Totten, I read him regularly - I like Michael Young despite his English and/or Dutch name he seems to be Lebanese and he seems to genuinely love his country - also he has the most incredible stories to tell about the investigation of the Hariri murder - the international community doesn't look good on that one - but I guess that's business as usual


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3) I *heart* trolls... for lunch.

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