Israel’s “attitude” problem

As if trying to top yesterday’s unveiling of a new ethnic subcategory, that of the “dark”-hearted “Goldfarb-Krauthammer wing” of Jews … this is Andrew in a post today called “Israel’s Attitude” — a doozy:

The Netanyahu government has all but declared war on the Obama administration and then openly disses a vital ally, Turkey. The slow cultural shifts in Israel – toward ever more arrogance, more fundamentalism, more Russian immigrant racism, contempt for the Muslim world, military adventurism, and the daily grinding of the Palestinians on the West Bank and pulverization and inhumane blockade of the people of Gaza … well maybe some others can explain it.

All I can say is: it saddens me, as a longtime lover of the Jewish state. It does not represent the historic mainstream of liberal Jewish society, it is a betrayal of many Jewish virtues that goyim like me deeply admire, and it seems designed for war as some kind of eternal and uplifting state of mind. I hope Israel shifts soon. For Israel’s sake.

Hmm …

Those are some grand thoughts to fit casually in two small paragraphs. I should read this more closely, line-by-line:

The Netanyahu government has all but declared war on the Obama administration

“All but declared War”? So right now the relationship is as intense as between the U.S. and the North Vietnamese?

and then openly disses a vital ally, Turkey.

A dumb move by one person, Danny Ayalon, not a country. Also, some acknowledgment from Andrew would be nice that he recognizes the back-story of the event and the shape of the alliance. Michael Rubin tells of Turkey’s recent “disses” of Israel, including a blood-libel movie, fairly succinctly at the National Review actually, here.

The slow cultural shifts in Israel – toward ever more arrogance, more fundamentalism,

Yes, mm-hmmm, yes …

more Russian immigrant racism, contempt for the Muslim world, military adventurism, and the daily grinding of the Palestinians on the West Bank and pulverization and inhumane blockade of the people of Gaza … well maybe some others can explain it.

Yes, it’s called dysphemism. Sometimes you seem to use it like it’s a dialect. So that’s why the only people who can fluently understand where you’re coming from, without having to parse facts and rhetoric, are those people who can spout off in the same dialect about your topic — Juan Cole, Max Blumenthal or Ali Abunimah, for example, in this case.

And warm-hearted use of an ellipsis, by the way.

All I can say is:

Can’t you say more? Don’t underestimate your capacities in this regard.

it saddens me, as a longtime lover of the Jewish state.

I change my mind. Please stop. I accept that you’re the Jewish state’s Al Green. Please stop before “methinks the laddie doth protest too much” …

(Sorry to evoke the father-son or principal-child condescension that Andrew has us steeping in, but “laddie” was the best substitute for Shakespeare’s “lady.”)

It does not represent the historic mainstream of liberal Jewish society,

I see. So you mean it represents the “Goldfarb-Krauthammer wing” of Jewish society you identified for your readers yesterday, the “much darker” wing of American Jewry.

Are you sure it’s Israel that has the bad attitude in this room?

it is a betrayal of many Jewish virtues that goyim like me deeply admire,

It’s so cute when he says “goyim” affectionately … not like when he wrote about  “the fate of most goyim [emphasis, his] who question the Israeli government on any grounds in Washington” — in a post that contrasted his attitude with “real antisemitism.”

Anyway, Jews out there, relax … Andrew is not suggesting some of you are “betraying” your country, or the non-Jewish portion of humanity, or the principles of humanism. He’s not using that idea of betrayal you’re accustomed to hearing in unpleasant diatribes. Andrew is advising you, friendly-like, about not “betraying” ( — by being the kind of Jew who doesn’t agree with him enough about Gaza or Iran or some other topic he passionately decides on — ) the values and historical legacy of the good Jews for whom he holds a high place in his mind.

and it seems designed for war

Wait, what’s the “it” in this clause? I’m losing track how of how you’ve been using this pronoun.

Does “it” mean Israel’s “attitude,” which you mention only in the title of your post? Or does “it” mean Israel’s cultural shifting, which you mention only in the plural form, as “slow cultural shifts”? Or does “it” now mean the State of Israel itself?

… And by “war,” I assume you don’t mean the Israeli war with the Obama administration you spoke about (or your NATO suggestion, for that matter).

as some kind of eternal and uplifting state of mind. I hope Israel shifts soon. For Israel’s sake.

Since I observed yesterday that you might have self-destructive impulses which realize themselves in writing that hurts others … I should concede that you might have a special insight into the problem you’re talking about: the problem of choosing a conflict in order to pursue some unattainable “kind of eternal and uplifting state of mind,” or at least more of a sense of purpose.

Hate the sin, not the sinner, as they say; and you probably wouldn’t deny that you’re criticizing Israel’s collective “attitude” with no less love than how you might criticize your own self in the mirror on a bad day.

Yesterday, I wrote, “Maybe this is a masochistic or danger-seeking tendency of yours,” but reading your post today, I see that any such “danger-seeking” on the part of a fellow Israel-supporter could only be the greatest asset for the country we both love. So whatever the Goldfarb-Krauthammer wing says, I will be looking forward to hearing more of your constructive criticism about Israel and Jewish-American support for Israel.

I hope I don’t sound patronizing in any way … It would be bad to sound patronizing when Andrew and I are trying to be part of an important conversation about the fate of 6,000,000 people and their culture.

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2 Responses

  1. […] well of dissecting his particular form of patronising racism, I’ll just leave you with the link, as I have to […]

  2. […] Otherwise, he’s being an “Isrealist,” not a realist, and he’ll have to sense The slow cultural shifts in Israel – toward ever more arrogance, more fundamentalism, more […]

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