My Yom Yerushalayim post engendered an exchange with the author of the article I fisked. I asked permission to post one of my long answers and he agreed with this request:
Ok. BUT. I would want you to add 2 points in my name:
1. I am convinced that no one is immune or protected from messianic excess. We are all human.
2. The delegitmation of the “bleeding heart liberals” troubles me. Our opponents refuse to concede that we care and love Israel even if we reach different conclusions. We may be wrong but we care deeply.
You exaggerate our faults (that’s your right as a Jew – it’s what the prophets did all the time), and you minimize theirs (why bother?). As a result, you feed their worst instincts.
The occupation is running amok. Murderers are being eulogized as heroes. Settlers terrorize Palestinians. These “exceptions” are becoming the rule, with the active encouragement of the government (note the recent event run for school age children on how to make sure that a terrorist is dead).
Every statement here needs to be tempered and contextualized, especially when in comparison with real, run-away, violent messianism (which few nations have resisted). you see this all as signs of imminent outbreak/collapse of the moral fiber of the nation. Given we are a garrison state, i’d say it’s amazing it’s this contained. If the people who buy into the Zionazi theory were right about us – that we treat the Palestinians as the Nazis did us) we’d have massacred every last Arab we could find. And outsiders would probably have forgiven us our madness. After all, we had just escaped an inconceivably huge attempt at our systematic destruction, and so our paranoia – exterminate or be exterminated – with enemies who had openly allied with the Nazis, would have been fully justified by any law of nations to that point. Look at what the allies did to the Germans and the Japanese – wholescale slaughter to put an end to the madness.
Instead it was unthinkable to Jews as a people, even in the most desperate conditions ever recorded in millennia of history, to go for slaughter. Even though we could have resorted to our scripture to justify it – they’re Amalek (or worse). On the contrary, the miniscule number of slaughters, of rapes, suggest enormous self-control. And some bleeding heart liberal wrote a thesis explaining that IDF don’t rape Arab women because they’re racists, and her astoundingly (perversely) stupid professors give her a prize.
The things you find so painful to bear when carried out by your own people, are the natural response of a living body to attack. Zionism is the reentry of the Jewish people into history, into a world where the nations have supposedly ceased, to paraphrase Napoleon, “to shamefully deny us our sovereignty
.” Apparently Europe is sinking to pre-revolutionary standards.
In my experience (personal and historical), Jews have become past masters of the art of resisting full blown messianic movements far more than any other group/culture, monotheists and post-monotheists. As you say, no one is immune But some succomb right away, others, later, and some, almost never – especially considering how much those some embrace messianic discourse. We’ve built a damn good apocalyptic fire-wall over the millennia.
It’s part of why it was unthinkable even in the most dire straights to resort to wholesale, apocalyptic massacre, even as our enemies, in their imagined strength, reveled in anticipating wholesale massacre. And what do the progressive supersessionists
and bleeding liberals gnaw over, Deir Yassin, Muhammad al Durah, lethal narratives from the people who wish they could do what they accuse us of doing.
And that morally discombobulated discourse makes us pariahs? Not in any fairness-based civil society that wants to survive.
Meantime, over the last 17 years (since the al Durah story), we are in a serious wave of anti-judaic madness like so many times in the past, although this time the most passionate “progressives” among us helped lead the way
, including Enderlin who launched the first global (
first post-modern) blood libel, thereby giving it one more distinction – the first blood libel launched by a openly identified Jew in the nearly millennium-old tragic history of the delusion.
Whether you like it or not, you move in the wake of this post-fact corruption. The very language you use reflects it. “Settlers terrorize Palestinians.” as if this violence were one way. Your bleeding heart has you imagine innocent folk “over there” whom we gratuitously oppress, and that in turn increases your anger at your own people’s violence, since it can’t be a defense, it has to be an offense. And in your sympathy for “them,” you believe their stories.
Our “sins” of “occupation” are tiny compared with the viciousness of our enemy, and also the cowardice of our should-be allies among the gentile and diaspora – “bleeding heart liberals” with whom you (and if not you, so many like-minded) openly share your concerns about our sins. (Beinart, J-Streeters, and worse) Now some “bleeding heart liberals” at Ben Gurion University has gone to new heights of aggression
in order to “help” the state they allegedly love. If you think your opponents unfairly refuse to recognize your love for Zion, it might help to realize that, from where they stand, you constant hectoring, hand-wringing and public denunciations look pretty mean-spirited.
Maybe if there were just a bit of modesty from you about where your bleeding heart takes you. May father used to say, “Sincerity is the cheapest of virtues.” Just because you sincerely love Israel doesn’t mean that your behavior doesn’t hurt her. You want to be graded on sincerity? It’s not really the main issue.
You can’t say, “I’m not thinking of what outsiders think of us,” because your entire nightmare is built around us becoming pariahs. Do you really think that our “occupation” of the Palestinians (I think I prefer our captivity of the Palestinians, or maybe our headlock on the Palestinians), is so bad it should make us pariahs among the nations? And if not, don’t you owe it to all concerned to stand up to that?
The people who look at you askance for your bleeding heart liberalism think they’re in a war (and they’re right, we are) and see you as someone weeping over the killing and intimidating of enemies – if not a traitor, a damaging fool. You believe we’re in a civil society (and we are, an amazing one), and find the bloody mindedness of your co-citizens deeply disturbing – if not crazy messianic, then fascist/fundamentalist.
How about calling it not the “occupation,” but the “headlock.”