First, from our good friend Henry Whistler:
Jul 06, 2011
Just how little Republican Zionism has to do with Jews at all:
In any event, Republican Zionism is not aimed at the Upper West Side. Its intention is to solidify and animate the Christian right, attract Reagan Democrats, and appeal to the broad swath of Middle America that instinctively sees Israel as a friend and ally. The Gallup poll found that 60 percent of independents prefer Israel to the Palestinians. Democratic Jews may, too, but they aren’t going anywhere. If and when the Obama administration seriously clashes with Israel—over the “peace process,” recognition of Hamas, Iranian nukes, or outreach to Islamist enemies of Israel like the Muslim Brotherhood—the president will have nothing to fear from his Jewish base. Hell, a lot of them would rather join the Muslim Brotherhood than vote for a Republican.
It can never be stressed enough just how much contempt for Jews lurks on the right. Their fandom for Israel has little substance beyond service to their hatred for Muslims. The enemy of their enemy, etc.
I am somewhat a product of indoctrination by the American Jewish community, what with my skin steeped in Hollywood liberalism and the principles espoused by “elitist” Jews who permeate the highest echelons of intellectual achievement that have so inspired my awe and loyalty. Wherever I point to for leadership, one finds Jews. And so when it comes to Israel, I have always loved everything I see within their borders; as one could always expect, within Israel among Israelis exist the highest of man’s aspirations, and a model for all to follow as Western liberal democracy springs up out of desert soil. If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere.
I never felt an inch of space existed between myself and the Jewish people until I met a Jewish right-winger, who could not hesitate a moment to drive a wedge between us if I advocated the slightest measure of fair play between Jews and Palestinians. And yet, despite the noxious year I spent as a roommate with this individual, he never swayed my faith in the greater wisdom of the wider Jewish community. I recognized that my antagonistic relationship with this person had nothing to do with his Jewishness, and everything to do with his rightwing, black/white absolutist nature that ruled out, as he readily confessed to me, many or most Jews as well.
All you have to do is look at the vehement hatred Republicans will quickly deliver towards Jews they dislike to see the illusion broken. Glenn Beck, with his rabid slobbering over Saul Alinsky, and the visceral hatred he and other members of the GOP elite sputter over George Soros, has made sure this paradigm isn’t going anywhere, as one can hardly visit a thread on a rightwing blog without somebody blathering about Saul Alinsky, whose “Rules for Radicals” is nothing less than the template for the Tea Party.
I’d say that the esteemed Mr Whistler missed it, and missed it badly. From Aaron Worthing:
Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 11:55 am
That is strong line from USA: The Jewish Promised Land, by Stephen Richer, a piece reflecting on the unique degree of tolerance exhibited in America, in general, toward Jewish Americans. He writes:
We Jews have always looked to Israel as our promised land. The dates 586 BCE and 70 CE (the destruction of the first and second Temples and the start of the Diaspora communities) are etched into the collective Jewish mind, and we end each Yom Kippur and Passover with the saying: “Next year in Jerusalem.”
But in many respects, we Jews found our promised land when we first stepped foot on American soil (Boston, 1649, Solomon Franco), and later when we came in larger numbers during the 1800s (250,000 Jews by 1880). For the first time, Jews had a home country devoid of a history of Jewish expulsion or systematic Jewish bloodshed. For the first time in history, Jews had a country that – from the beginning – gave de jure acknowledgement to the right to practice to Judaism and the right to be an equal citizen as a Jew.
Read it all. Your patriotic heart will swell with pride. While he acknowledges the sad reality of American anti-Semitism, he also recognizes that such incidents stand out because they are out of place. America’s truest self is one where no discrimination is tolerated but what arises from merit and conduct.
More at the link.
One thing I don’t believe Mr Whistler understands about (most) conservatives is why we admire the Jews, or at least the American Jews we get to see. Culturally, Jews in America are an extraordinary people. They place a strong emphasis on hard work, and it is drummed into their children beginning at an early age. Jewish children in America are strongly encouraged to work hard in school, to get the best grades, and thus win admission to the best colleges. There, they are again encouraged to work hard, to get the best grades, to win admission to professional schools or to get the better jobs coming out of college. American Jews are, generally speaking, the prototypical American dream, personified. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: if we all came from the same culture as American Jews, this country would have no problems at all.
Further, it seems to me that Mr Whistler missed it badly in his last two paragraphs. He told us that he “recognized that (his) antagonistic relationship with this person had nothing to do with his Jewishness,” but with his former roommate’s political views, yet he then turns around and that “All you have to do is look at the vehement hatred Republicans will quickly deliver towards Jews they dislike to see the illusion broken,” to go along with “how much contempt for Jews lurks on the right” from earlier on, never seeming to understand that we can have contempt for the views of some people who happen to be Jews not because they are Jews, but because we believe their views are both wrong and harmful. The distance he put between his own dislike of a Jewish former roommate’s political views and that roommate being Jewish he seems unable to grant to conservatives.
This is, in a way, akin to the position that if you don’t support the positions of the Israeli government or don’t support Israel’s right to exist, or even if you just have some sympathy for the Palestinians, why you must be an anti-Semite!¹ Mr Whistler would never accept such an argument, and he shouldn’t: not being a supporter of Israel does not mean that you hate Jews. Indeed, the
California Iowa Liberal previously wrote:
One must simply resign oneself to the inevitable: To speak about Israel in any terms other than that of the most belligerently rightwing guarantees that the label anti-Semite will be applied. Nothing you do will prove your bona fides. Nothing you can say will make them stop, except complete capitulation.
Why, then, would he try to take the position that if a conservative disagrees with a Jew, that conservative must be expressing a “lurk(ing)” “contempt for Jews?” It’s like someone saying that, at least to him, “there is no question in (his) mind that racism is a factor in the anti-Obama agenda,” to try to cut off debate about President Obama’s policies.
Mr Whistler would say that condemning someone who opposes Israeli policy as an anti-Semite simply because he opposes Israeli policy is intellectually lazy, and a way of attempting to shut off debate by forcing the first person to defend himself against the charge of anti-Semitism rather than debate his points concerning Israeli policy. He praised Andrew Sullivan for resisting that argument.
Why then, after proclaiming himself above that kind of disingenuous and demagogic argument, does he turn right around and use the same form himself, simply against different targets? Perhaps it’s time for Fletcher Rhys’ favorite father to reexamine his argument.
¹ – “While the term’s etymology might suggest that antisemitism is directed against all Semitic peoples, the term was coined in the late 19th century in Germany as a more scientific-sounding term for Judenhass (“Jew-hatred”), and that has been its normal use since then.”