The Crisis of Jewish Leftist Islamism (FrontPageMagazine.com) By Daniel Greenfield 03/28/12)
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Every now and then the left discovers someone who tells them what
they already think, but puts a glossier edge on it, and elevates him
to the status of “Serious Thinker.” This is the office for which
Peter Beinart has been briefly nominated.
The chief prerequisite for becoming a serious thinker on the left is
to state what is obvious to the left without actually seriously
considering its obviousness. This is what Peter Beinart delivers in
his new book, The Crisis of Zionism, by providing an indulgence for
leftist Israel bashing by telling the bashers that they aren’t bad
Jews, it’s the Israelis who are bad Jews, bad Democrats and bad
people all around.
As ideas go, this is about as original as old lefties reassuring each
other that all the Kulaks had it coming or Bund members telling
themselves that the Jews brought this on themselves. It’s the feeble
mutterings of bad people trying to convince themselves that they are
good people because their victims have it coming. And what’s a few
more dead Jews in Toulouse, when Peter Beinart has a book deal.
There are two basic ways to resolve the “crisis” of liberal Zionism.
One is to question liberalism, the other to question Zionism. The
people most likely to screech “Israel Firster” at dinner parties and
op-ed pieces have chosen their side. “Israel Firster” isn’t their
denunciation of disloyalty to America, but disloyalty to progressive
ideals. It’s an old charge delivered by Lenin and repeated by the
left in its long crusade against Zionism.
Is there really a crisis of liberal Zionism? Beinart insists that
there is a split between a conservative and liberal Zionism. It would
be more accurate to say that there is a split within liberalism
between the left and more traditional liberals. There is no crisis of
liberal Zionism; there is a civil war among liberals, particularly
Jewish liberal who are being edged out by the radical anti-Jewish
There is no crisis of liberal Zionism. There is a crisis of Jewish
leftist Islamism, that horrible chimerical beast which insists that
cheerleading for the Muslim terrorists is somehow the essence of
Jewish values, while supporting Israel is a betrayal of those values.
That is the crisis which is being articulated by serious Jewish
liberal thinkers. That is the crisis that Peter Beinart is covering
up under a cloud of Israel bashing.
The left rejected the Jewish national project before the modern state
was even created. The Beinarts can pretend that the latest round of
their rejection is somehow premised on settlements and civil rights,
but that’s a shameless lie. The left’s rejection was based on a
constellation of reasons, some of them anti-Semitic, some anti-
nationalist, but that rejection did not derive from Palestinian
rights cooked up much later in Moscow by the machinery of the same
Communist state which had outlawed Zionism.
The liberal Zionists believed that Israel had a right to exist and
defend itself, as they also believed that America had a right to
exist and defend itself. They saw Islam and Communism as totalitarian
ideologies. There was no contradiction between liberalism and
Zionism, because they measured both Jews and Arab Muslims by the same
standard, and chose between the two.
They did not agree with everything that Israel did, but they saw it
in a larger context. This larger context does not exist in Beinart’s
screeds, which recycle all the usual attacks on Israel with a feigned
tone of sadness teetering into outrage, without any of the context at
all. The reason there is no context is that there is a Crisis of
There is no contradiction between traditional liberalism and Zionism.
There is a contradiction between the left and Islamism. But that
contradiction is never addressed, instead it is funneled into more
denunciations of America and Israel.
Is there more of a contradiction between a liberal cheering on the
IDF, or the left standing together with the Muslim Brotherhood? That
is a question which genuinely serious thinkers on the left like Nick
Cohen have addressed. But that question would demand genuine soul
searching, rather than Beinart’s shoddy mainstreamed propaganda,
which hasn’t altered much from its original sources in the copy boys
of the Arab League and its strutting whores in the American Council
If the modern left really opposed Israel because they oppose
colonialism, checkpoints, settlements and all the rest of the 99
theses that the Martin Luther Pipkins keep nailing to the synagogue
while pounding their sunken chests and beaming for the cameras, then
they would be at least as outraged at Turkey or China. But it isn’t
Israel’s deeds that outrage it is — it is its existence.
There is nothing Israel could do that would appease its enemies, and
I don’t mean the House of Saud, Hamas or Abbas — I mean its leftist
Jewish enemies like Norman Finkelstein, George Soros or Peter Beinart.
Their enmity toward Israel is not uniquely Jewish, but their
Jewishness gives it an edge. They are “Left Fisters” who are
perpetually shamed by the Zionist Entity and its resistive form of
Jewish identity. Unitarian, Presbyterian and Jewish leftists hate
Israel for the same basic reasons that they hate America, but the
Jewish leftist uniquely experiences both leftist guilt and Jewish
guilt over Israel, and kills one to appease the other.
Peter Beinart isn’t a liberal Zionist. He’s a leftist anti-Zionist.
In a better and more honest world, he would own up to that and make
his argument. But the midden camp of the leftist anti-Zionists is
oversaturated and there aren’t nearly as many book deals to be picked
up by rehashing the same old bashing as if it were new.
The left’s current anti-Zionist strategy is to feign moderation, to
fake right while playing left. The money is in those groups and
individuals who can shift that stolid mass of the Jewish community
over to the left by making Israel bashing seem acceptable. Beinart,
like J-Street, is another beneficiary of the fortunes being tossed by
leftist billionaires at the left’s long project of educating Jews out
of their tribal loyalties.
The real victims of Beinart’s narrative aren’t even the tragically
oppressed terrorists, that ancient invented people who have been
around for less time than the Ford Galaxie. The real victims are
liberal Zionists, a group that somehow includes Barack Obama, who
have been betrayed by a Jewish state which insists on protecting its
citizens, instead of putting a gun to its head and pulling the
Beinart exonerates leftist Zionists and anti-Zionists, telling the
former that they were abandoned by the awful Jewish state and telling
the latter that hating Israel is the truest expression of their
liberal and Jewish values. And what indeed could be more Jewish than
hating Israel? Perhaps boycotting Israel, as Beinart suggested in an
Op-Ed, in order to save Israel. Only by destroying Israel can the
idea of Israel be saved.
The left’s perverse mission in American Jewish life has been to
eviscerate the guts of Jewish identity and fill it with the stinking
viscera of the left, slabs of rotting Tikkun Olam, green eco leaves
and civil rights marches. Now the left is conducting its long march
through Jewish institutions to make supporting Israel seem un-Jewish
and transform bashing Israel into a Jewish value.
What do the Beinarts pretend they want? That ideal Israel where
Islamists live side by side with gay bars? That wonderful country of
the imagination that only briefly exists when leftists and Islamists
conduct mutual protests against Israel. A country that can only fail
to come into existence when Israel is destroyed, when another of the
left’s projects in the Middle East end up like Egypt and Iran.
The real crisis of liberal Zionism is that it is under attack by the
left, besieged by angry midgets who have rewritten all the
definitions and are out to ban the dictionary. And the crisis of the
left is that it is insane. It is capable of criticizing everything
and everyone, but it never looks in the mirror long enough to see the
insane twisted gargoyle face leering back at it.
The left is full of expert denouncers and informers, and Beinart
isn’t the best they have. But none of them are capable of asking what
the cause gains if Israel is destroyed and Hamastan rises in its
place? And what of Europe which is speedily becoming Eurabia? Where
will there be room for the agenda of the left then? While they
ceaselessly manufacture one crisis after another, the real crisis is
in the souls that they don’t believe they have anymore.
There is no crisis of Zionism, which is what it has always been.
Ariel is as much of a settlement as Tel Aviv. There is as much need
for the IDF in 2012 as there was in 1962 and only a liar would
pretend otherwise. Israel has not changed. If anything it has made
more concessions and become more generous to its enemies than in the
halcyon days of the liberal Zionist.
What can we say of the moral outrage of the gangrenous left? The left
which clasps hands with Islamists and then denounces Israel for war
crimes? Which hugs a religion whose creed preaches the genocide of
the Jewish people, and claims to do it all in the name of Jewish
values? What is all this if not a crisis of Jewish Leftist Islamism?
When Peter Beinart praises the Muslim Brotherhood as non-violent,
does he imagine that when Qaradawi praises Hitler for doing Allah’s
work and calls for Jewish genocide that the Brotherhood cleric means
every Jew but Beinart? This is the crisis of Jewish Leftist Islamism,
the crisis of Jewish “Left Firsters” who denounce Jews and embrace
their murderers, only to discover that despite their devoted service —
to the murderers they are still Jews. (Copyright © 2012
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