Good. I got your attention.
Yesterday we got the double whammy – fodder for the BDS (Bias, Deceit, Sensationalism) movement – of news of Noam Chomsky’s denied entry to the West Bank and Peter Beinart’s lamentable New York Review of Books article buying into the prevailing Left narrative of the American Jewish leadership’s moral decline aiding an Israeli moral decline.
I won’t argue the Chomsky matter specifically, though, as always, I lean decidedly toward freedom of speech and movement. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a reversal of the entry decision soon, with the recognition that it was ill-advised. In any case, it would be similarly ill-aimed advice to remind Chomsky, who in his rejection (and in the contemporary trans-ideological fashion of unserious political pejorative, with Obama as Nazi) likened Israel to a “Stalinist” state, that such states are better known for keeping their own people in and murdering them than for keeping their ideological opponents out. Chomsky remains, at any rate, continuing demonstration that intellectual capacity offers only the seeds of actual intelligence, and that age does not inevitably, in consolation, like a sweet September, bring wisdom.
It is worth noting, however, that unlike the United Sates and most of the nations that criticize Israel, Israel has been in a near perpetual state of conflict with sworn enemies, even explicitly genocidal enemies, for nearly its entire existence (to speak of a “Long War”) and that at its narrowest point it is only 9.3 miles wide, almost exactly the distance from West Hollywood to the beach in Santa Monica, California, a trip, on the rare occasion of little traffic, only twenty minutes by car. Life is a little different than in Sweden. Yet any nation, in the face of a little fear, may act unwisely.
And great fear? In contrast to decades of incessant threat and attack on its citizens and soil, the United States suffered on 9/11 one dramatic attack, from quite afar, by enemies not remotely capable of actually bringing an end to its existence. What has been the reaction? A regime of torture, scores of deaths during secret detainments, the incarceration of citizens without due process, wiretapping of citizens without court order, and most recently the proposal by members of the U.S. Senate (imagine it was Avigdor Lieberman) to permit Americans to be stripped of their citizenship without due process and then be prosecuted without the rights of citizenship.
So surrounded by enemies, Israel hesitates to admit among its foes, in order to stir them up, a man who is avowedly opposed to Israel’s existence. Which prompts the Israeli Didi Remez to quote approvingly the Israeli Boaz Okon, of the Israeli newspaper Yediot, in calling the Chomsky denial of entry
part of a large series of follies in the recent period, which together could mark the end of Israel as a freedom-loving state of law, or at least pose a large question mark over this….
Therefore, it would not be an exaggeration to say that the decision to shut up Prof. Chomsky is an attempt to put an end to freedom in the State of Israel. I am not talking about the stupidity of supplying ammunition to those who say that Israel is fascist, but rather about our concern that we may be becoming fascists.
Did I miss the chapter in which Stalin’s Russian critics got to do and say such things? No, wait, Okon doesn’t say Stalinist; he says fascist. (Oy, who can keep up? Maybe we can just call those we don’t like ists. Contemptible ist!) Did I miss the chapter in which Mussolini’s Italian critics, and Hitler’s German, and Franco’s Spanish critics got to do and say such things? I propose that the United Nations construct simulated Stalinist and Nazi states. They could be like Adventure Land or Future World at a Disney Park. In fact, Disney could get the contract. Anyone who uses the terms Stalinist or Nazi has to spend two weeks in authentic conditions and then write a report.
Consider, then, that for six years, the United States barred Tariq Ramadan from entering its territory based on “a provision of the Patriot Act that allows the barring of foreigners who “’use a position of prominence within any country to endorse or espouse terrorist activity.’” Chomsky, of course, would not have been espousing terrorism. He would only, in his own opposition to the state of Israel, have affirmed that spirit of opposition among a population that shares it and has conducted terrorism against Israelis based on it for decades. A fine point, but we’re all fine people, and what must the United States already be if Israel is in danger of becoming, but Chomsky thinks the U.S. itself is a leading terrorist state (though he has also called it “the best country in the world.”) Glad that’s all settled.
Ah, but you think, perhaps I misled you with the title of my post. Ah, no.
And Wikipedia lists countries that might not accept passports which contain Israeli stamps or visas, i.e. not just if you are Israeli, but if you have even been there.
Of course, barring entry to people perceived as a threat or potentially troublesome is not an act limited to any particular people.
However, the Brits do spread it around.
But let’s focus on the Jews.
And as long as we do, let’s keep in mind, contra Chomsky, that in the Stalinist state of Israel, Omar Barghouti, cofounder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, is a graduate student in philosophy at Tel Aviv University.
I have said before, that every time some inordinate focus is placed on the Israel and what it does to survive, even as it thrives, or supposedly should do to bring about peace, even with all it has already done, the world needs to be reminded of greater truths, every time, and of what Israel’s enemies are like.
There will be no more succinct assessment of Beinart’s essay than that from Jeffry Goldberg reader David Marks.
To me what is more terrifying than the transient power of the Israeli right in Israel, is the deepening belief on the American Jewish middle-left that Israel and mainstream American Jewish organizations are solely to blame for everything, that the Palestinians have no human agency, and have not contributed anything to the current impasse in peace negotiations. This is all the more disconcerting coming from Beinart, a man whose writing I have deeply admire, and who for years has been a moderating voice on the left. To see him accept the Walt/Mearsheimer narrative is frightening. The next thing you know an emboldened Mearsheimer will be creating a list of good Jews and bad Jews; and Walt will start advocating the removal of Jews from foreign policy positions in government. Sadly, these two things have already happened.
Sadly, the human agency of current Palestinian culture, in the shape of Hamas, regularly produces this kind of Martyrdom Indoctrination on Hamas TV Children’s Show.
What would you like to sing for us?
Caller: “When We Become Martyrs.”
Nassur: Go ahead. Come on, cheer her on. Clap your hands.
Saraa: Come on.
Nassur: Come on.
Caller (singing): When we get martyred we will go to Paradise.
When we get martyred we will go to Paradise.
No, don’t say we are too small. This life has made us grown-ups.
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- Noam Chomsky Denied Entry to Israel (abcnews.go.com)