Setting Aside Your Humanity to Cheer “Team Israel”
PALESTINE - ISRAEL, 28 Jul 2014
I am not especially bothered by right-wingers who defend Israel’s indefensible onslaught against Gaza. Right-wingers who supported the Vietnam war (if they were around then) or the Iraq war, the people who want to go to war with Russia now. I get that. Right-wingers (think John McCain) like war and view it as sport; their side is always right.
But progressive Jews (and most Jews are progressives or, at least, liberal Democrats) aren’t like that. They dominated the anti-Vietnam war movement. They opposed the Iraq war. They never bought into Cold War rhetoric, which is why Joe McCarthy disproportionately targeted Jews when he was going after “Reds.”
So what’s happened? Why are Jews running off to support this war “like lemmings going to a Barbra Streisand concert,” as one correspondent put it to me. What’s going on?
It’s simple. Most Jews, apparently, are as chauvinistic as every other ethnic group.
If they saw any other army (including the U.S. army) doing what the Israeli army is doing, they would be appalled at the monstrous cruelty and they would say so. And they would demand an end to the war through an agreement that met both sides needs. They would not explain away the bombing of hospitals or of children playing on the beach.
But they are apparently okay with these horrors when Jews are doing them, even buying into obscene propaganda (like something out of Berlin in 1942) that Palestinians are ,in Netanyahu’s words,using “telegenically-dead Palestinians for their cause. They want- the more dead the better.” Telegenically-dead. Pure Orwell or Kafka.
Imagine believing that Palestinians are picking out beautiful babies to die to advance their cause.
It’s obscene and too moronic for Jews to believe. But, check the social media, many do. (The idea actually came from Charles Krauthammer, of course. Netanyahu just borrowed it).
So, after 3000 years, we learn that Jews are just like everyone else. After all those centuries when our ancestors condemned the “goyim” (I hate the term but that is the term they used) for killing each other (and us) like barbarians, we learn that under the right conditions, we behave the same way. So much for all our Holocaust lessons about how the world was silent in the face of the horrors inflicted on us. We would have been silent too.
We are the same. Not all of us, not those of us (and there are many) who hate this war and oppose it. But the rest, the ones like Barney Frank who, a life-long opponent of all war, isan ardent supporter of this one. Why? Because he’s Jewish and must root for the home team. That is entirely what so-called “Solidarity with Israel” is all about now: choosing “blood” over morality.
3000 years and it’s come to this. Go Blue (and White).
I keep wondering if this is all some test that God is administering to Jews. How will Jews behave when the shoe is on the other foot?
Now He knows.
And we know too. If you defend this war, you are defending atrocities because, when it comes to Israel, you suspend all moral judgement. Fine. Just don’t think you are fooling anyone.
MJ Rosenberg is a commentator on Israel and the Middle East who draws on thirty-five years of experience as a congressional aide, State Department political appointee under President Clinton, four years at AIPAC, ten at Israel Policy Forum, and three at Media Matters for America.
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