It’s Work, Being a Jew

Did you see that? Did you see what I did? I’ve been blogging obsessively on the subject of “labor” and workers ever since Scott “I’ve got a baseball bat in my office, Mr. Koch – it is Mr., isn’t it?” Walker started trying to roll back the twentieth century in Wisconsin. It’s developed into something of a potential blogger’s Jimmy Carter “Rose Garden” strategy should unions not ultimately prevail in the matter, and I end up looking weak and ineffectual and lose reelection to this blog to Clark S. Judge (who’s got more commenters than I do) and his lizard pollster.

But, you see, the other day I was doing some research on yet another post about labor – Abraham Lincoln on labor, just for a little unexpected historic weight – and what did I come across? Download, yet one more freewheeling, apparently nonpartisan political discussion forum, the only manifest guideline for which seems to be that posters be meaner versions of Judd Apatow’s extended adolescents, with opinions not on tits but politics. There are, then, ready doses of foulness and racism – an animated gif of Barack Obama shucking and jiving down the street, for instance – and, well, as follow-up to those famous lines on labor from the log splitter himself, this

One reason the jews killed him huh???

The world is fucked because idiots only repeat what the jew capitalist tells them.

Ann rayn was an evil fucking jew cunt.

You mean, even in a forum post on Abraham Lincoln and labor? Jesus Chri – Pardon me. Myron Cohen! And I also have to be reminded of Ayn Rand (so who ever said political acumen was married to spelling ability)?

Well, so you see, there it was, the perfect opportunity during the intellectual atrocity of Israel Apartheid Week to make my transition – practically handed to me on an appetizing platter from labor (that would be “work”) to Jews. Lots of other people with lots of time on their hands lo, these two millennia, have never been able to stop talking about Jews – and in not a very kindly manner, I might superfluously add – and since, due to my labors it’s been a while for me, I’m taking the serendipitous opportunity. Talk about Jews, though, and soon enough these days, you talk about Israel too.

Roger Waters, for instance, of Pink Floyd, has endorsed the BDS movement against Israel. Roger Waters has not joined the BDS movement against Libya, Sudan, Iran, Burma, China, and Russia, to name just a few repressive and murderous (and undemocratic) regimes. Roger Waters lives in a free country (England) where one is not currently imprisoned, stoned, or executed for speaking one’s mind, even a weak and fashionable one, but where a remarkable level of anti-Semitism masquerading as political criticism of Israel is unblinkingly accepted. (Simply substitute in the commenting sections of blogs for “fucking jew cunt” the less religious and ethnic but more purportedly ideological “racist Zionist Nazi” and you’ll recognize how the world has evolved, or at least developed a variation on a theme. Pete Seeger has also recently expressed support for the BDS movement, though he is now, as the pols like to say “walking that back” a bit:

Seeger told JTA by phone Wednesday that he “probably said” that, but added that he is still learning a lot about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and his “opinions waver with each piece of information” he receives.

I’ve been susceptible like many over the years to Seeger’s avuncular voice and hail-fellow spirit of social solidarity, but he didn’t leave the communist party when Stalin allied with Hitler, or – until the U.S. was attacked –quit singing songs, among all the other choices then, about American warmongering; then, in 1972, he visited North Vietnam, a show of allegiance that is the definitive demarcation between good and bad judgment in opposing the Vietnam War, because by that time apparently he didn’t yet have enough information to recognize the nature of communist dictatorship, and at 92 still wavers over the difference between flawed democracy and forces on the wrong side of the Enlightenment. He’s a lovely, gentle man, but his record is not one of discernment in the moral thicket.

As to the puerile, intolerant, unhistorical and hysterical monovision of the BDS culture, read this extensive account of an event at Hampshire College from To Find the Principles, which event, of course, included its share of Azzajews. A leader of the BDS movement, by the way, is this fraud, who, like many BDSers, calls Israel an “apartheid” state.

Yes, that’s right.

An ideological companion to the BDS movement is England’s demonstrably anti-Semitic Guardian newspaper, which prints letters justifying Palestinian terrorism against Israel and calling Israeli West Bank settlers, as wrong as one might believe them to be, “among the most incorrigible and dangerous racist bigots of our times” and Israel itself a nation that acts like a “fascist state.” This is the democratic Israel that is surrounded on all sides, for thousands of miles and without exception, by one form of autocracy, dictatorship, tyranny or puppet state or another, some of which themselves, along with several terrorist organizations right on Israel’s border – like Tijuana to San Diego or Juarez to El Paso – are by charter and religious conviction dedicated to the killing of Jews and the genocidal destruction of Israel. In regard to which, as well as the propagandistic calumnies (still better than pogroms, concentration camps, and gas chambers) of racism, fascism, and apartheid, you should know:

Oddly enough (or maybe not, given “fucking jew cunt”), there are people on whom none of this makes an impression and for whom none of it makes a difference. An ideological frame of reference has been formed that is impervious to facts and a complete historical vision. It is a frame that influences many people. For instance, I have a Twitter friend almost as old as my Twitter account. We bonded early on over our mutual interest in travel and indigenous issues, and we shared some intimacies about origins and parental relations. She is Malaysian, of Pakistani descent, and she learned from these exchanges that I am Jewish. I do not for a moment believe her to be anti-Semitic. But my tweeting about Israel soon revealed our differences there and her admiration for George Galloway:

George Galloway has said Hamas are not tyrants and defended elections in Iran during a lecture about the fall of dictatorships.

Speaking to LSE [London School of Economics] students on Monday, the former Respect MP called Israel an “apartheid” state and compared scenes in Gaza after Operation Cast Lead to those in the Second World War.

Needless to say, this halted the forward march of our chumminess, but it has been for me a point of – well, I don’t know: a point of something – not to unfollow her, as she hasn’t me: whereas the other day, a fellow who befriended me over Radiohead, but who in his sweepingly uncritical antiestablishmentarianism couldn’t abide my mistrust of Julian Assange, promptly unfollowed me. But I don’t like an echo chamber. Something about the acoustics.

So Galloway-fan erupts from time to time at my Israel tweeting and tries to draw me into debate. “Via tweet?” I chide – “more evidence you’re not serious. Engage me at the blog.” She has now agreed to, though she hasn’t followed through, and this may be why: in her tweets she tosses out those standard verbal lie-bombs, like hash tag (#)occupation and #apartheid. She tried, too, the claim that Diaspora (European) Jews had no right to be in Palestine, because they are not from there. I briefly countered that, well, by definition, in their dispersion from their homeland, Diaspora Jews are from there. (Unless, post the Khazar debunking one is claiming an origin for European Jews in – what now – Zimbabwe?)

Now, see, she was trapped by logic, an uncomfortable position for people who are wrong to be in, so how did she respond?

“So it is only the Palestinians who are not allowed to return home!”

You see – you see what she did there? She pulled a reversal. She implicitly accepted my point, without acknowledging it, only for the purpose of attempting to turn it on me. Because if we could establish agreement on the right of Jews – any Jew – to be in Israel, then we would have made some progress in discussion, and we could move on to other issues including Palestinian claims. But when people are driven by animus, even the kind cloaked in a political program – and this is true of the animus many American conservatives feel toward labor unions – they do not argue to seek a truth or to reach an understanding. They argue to forestall both and to achieve another end by other means.

So, whew, this is work, you know? And here’s some more.

It is an unfortunate truth that the political program in the West that demonizes Israel is a development of a form of Far Left postcolonial derangement ideology. It is a strain of thought that bleeds into liberalism, not liberalism as an enlightened, humanistic conception of democracy, but liberalism as a practical representation at any time – this time, now, at the start of the twenty-first century – of that conception. But this representation that blames Israel for the decades-long failure to resolve the conflict with the Arab world, that purports to blame any current right-of-center Israeli government, is not liberal: it is not liberalism. It was not liberalism thirty-five years ago. What has changed in those years – Israel? Ah, that’s thirty-five years of history to review, what Israel has and hasn’t done, what the Arab nations and Palestinians have and haven’t done, with no party burdened to do more than the other is prepared to match. There’s some work. Come, shall we?

But you think we’re done? No. We’re not done

With too many liberal claimants adopting the illiberal critique of Israel, that puts legions of conservative supporters of Israel in the position of identifying that support of Israel, with, indeed, conservative political thought, and of identifying opposition to the manner of Israel’s longstanding defense of itself with liberal thought. And the more they hear that kind of liberal claim – “No, we love Israel; we criticize because we love.” – the more a lot of not so liberal Israelis and Jews begin to say, “Hey, you know what, already. Forget those farshtunkener people. We can live without them.”

And the truth is, I gotta say, Jews have encountered a lot of farshtunkener people over the millennia. It’s in the books. You can read about it. Some have even claimed they were being farshtunkener for the Jews own good. (Yeah, right.) And Jews have lived without them. Or maybe that’s despite them. Or in spite.

Because the truth is (yeah, I’m telling you) there’s no law that says Western liberals and conservatives can’t actually agree on a thing or two. There have been some cases. You could look it up. Israel, which has made some mistakes, to be sure, should still be one of them. But now, in reaction, many not so liberal Jews and Israelis have accepted this identification of liberalism with antipathy for Israel (yes, they know; you criticize because you love), and they have begun to join their defense of Israel with their criticism of liberalism in general, and with a defense of Far Right manifestations just as incoherent and repellent as the Far Left they disdain.

This is a mistake, in itself, and because it will only serve to further specifically identify for some people – who could use to be taught otherwise – support of Israel with political conservatism rather a national representation of liberal democracy. This helps no one. It hurts. I’m telling you, it hurts. It is an error as a matter of coherent political philosophy, and it is unwise as a tactic for arguing the case for Israel.

And it’s work, too, all this business, this Israel business – this Jewish business.

What? You thought I was kidding?


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