How not to save Israel: Response to Gershom Gorenberg

A friend asked me what I thought of the following piece by Gershom Gorenberg published by Slate. Disclosure: Gorenberg and I were once close friends. He was a regular at the Center for Millennial Studies, when wrote his book End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount. He even asked me once to substitute for him at an NIF [!] function in New York – before I knew what I was dealing with (more on that below).

For a formal review of the book by Lazar Berman, who used to post at the Augean Stables, see “The Unmaking of Gershom Gorenberg.”

Fisked below.

How to Save Israel
The three steps that could rescue it from endless conflict and international ostracism.
By |Posted Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, at 6:59 AM ET

For Israel to establish itself again as a liberal democracy, it must make three changes.

It’s pretty revealing that Gorenberg thinks Israel needs to establish itself again as a “liberal democracy.” He apparently thinks that the first round ended in 1967. That means that the key moment in a democracy – when an opposition group can be voted into power – which occurred for the first time in 1977, doesn’t even count, along with the in some cases excessive commitment to radical democratic principles of Aharon Barak’s Supreme Court (1978-2006). As will become apparent later on, this schema has a great deal to do with his moral perfectionism and, tangentially I think, his concern for what others think, an aspect of his thought revealed in his concern about “international ostracism.”

The following is adapted from Gershom Gorenberg’s new book The Unmaking of Israel. Read the earlier excerpts about why, exactly, Israel ended up losing most of its Arab population in 1948 and about why a new kind of old-time Judaism has taken hold in Israel.

I write from an Israel with a divided soul. It is not only defined by its contradictions; it is at risk of being torn apart by them. It is a country with uncertain borders and a government that ignores its own laws. Its democratic ideals, much as they have helped shape its history, or on the verge of being remembered among the false political promises of 20th-century ideologies.

The risks Gorenberg identifies (see below) are only some of the risks Israel runs, but which he tends to ignore, not the least, the risks embedded in the suggestions he has to make for resolving the contradictions. “On the verge of being remembered among the false political promises of 20th century ideologies”?! Is this a reference to Nazism and Communism? Historically this is ludicrous – unless Gorenberg sees Israel becoming a totalitarian state sometime soon. Only in terms of the kind of post-colonial anti-Zionism of say, Tony Judt or Phillip Weiss, it does make sense.

What will Israel be in five years, or 20? Will it be the Second Israeli Republic, a thriving democracy within smaller borders? Or a pariah state where one ethnic group rules over another? Or a territory marked on the map, between the river and the sea, where the state has been replaced by two warring communities? Will it be the hub of the Jewish world, or a place that most Jews abroad prefer not to think about? The answers depend on what Israel does now.

I have an Israeli friend, a good liberal who supported Oslo despite the information he was getting about the malevolent intentions of the PA, who admitted to me that after the outbreak of the Second Intifada (in other words, after the Palestinians got out of their Trojan horse and showed their real hand), that the hardest thing for him to realize is that “it’s not in our hands.”

Gorenberg has yet to realize that. For him, everything is in Israel’s hands, and if only they’d do what he told them, then they’d have peace, a liberal democracy, the moral high ground, and the world would once again like and admire them (or at least not stigmatize them as pariahs). As a result, he is a prime candidate for “masochistic omnipotence complex” (MOS) ie, it’s all our fault and if only we could be better [a liberal democracy] then we could fix everything.

As a result, Gorenberg is susceptible to framing the conflict in terms of the “four dimensional Israeli, two- (or one-) dimensional Palestinian“. Since I rarely agree with Phillip Weiss, let me note that he points out the same lack of any real interest in Palestinians on Gorenberg’s part. This was, by the way, my critique of the play NIF staged in NYC which I commented on in Gorenberg’s place: four dimensional Jews ruminating and churning their guilt in a void filled with fantasies of Palestinian peace-makers whom extremist Jews try to assassinate.

For Israel to establish itself again as a liberal democracy, it must make three changes. First, it must end the settlement enterprise, end the occupation, and find a peaceful way to partition the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.

What on earth leads Gorenberg to think that this “peaceful way to partition” is possible? When he says “stop the occupation” he presumably means retreat to the Green line (the ’49 armistice lines). When the Palestinian leadership – “secular” and religious – says occupation, they mean the shore line. Does Gorenberg think that ending the settlement enterprise and the occupation will lead to a peaceful partition, rather than to a resumption of war with Israel in a weaker position? Has he considered that possibility?

You’d think from this statement that Israel hadn’t tried. That Oslo was not an effort to exchange land for peace that turned out to be an exchange of land for war? That the failure of Oslo was… Israel’s fault? I think Gorenberg would respond, “Yes,” and point to the settlements as evidence of Israel’s lack of good faith. I’d say that’s more Masochistic Omnipotence Syndrome, and that the West Bank settlements are not even near the heart of the Palestinian leadership’s hostility to Israel.

Second, it must divorce state and synagogue—freeing the state from clericalism, and religion from the state.

While there are places where Judaism may well have too much influence on public and political life in Israel, in the grand scheme of what constitutes a theocracy and what constitutes the division of church and state, I’d say Israel is heavily to the latter side. One of the characteristics of MOS is an extreme sensitivity to one’s own side’s every flaw, and a corresponding indifference to much worse failures on the other side. The likelihood of a Palestinian state dominated by Muslim laws and concerns is much greater than any danger of theocracy in Israel. Does that factor in to calculations about how to reach a peaceful settlement by creating such a state? Or are Palestinian flaws not of any concern?

Third and most basically, it must graduate from being an ethnic movement to being a democratic state in which all citizens enjoy equality.

For the moment, I’ll  just note that, in the Middle East, the only ethnicity that has shown itself capable of maintaining a real working democracy, with exceptional freedom of speech even for “citizen”-enemies of the state, is the Jews. Like Judt, Gorenberg is operating at the post-colonial, post-national, end of the historical process, ignoring that in the neighborhood where it must survive, Israel is the cutting edge of liberal democratic developments, surrounded by pre-modern, prime divider societies.

Proposing these changes provokes several reflexive objections, inside Israel and beyond. First, many Israeli Jews translate any call for full equality of all citizens as a demand that Israel cease to be a Jewish state. The supposed choice is a false one. Israel can be a liberal democracy and still fulfill the justifiable desire of Jews, as an ethnic national group, for self-determination.

The liberal meaning of self-determination begins with the rights of individuals. As Israeli political thinker Chaim Gans argues, it expresses the justifiable desire of members of an ethnic group to maintain a basic aspect of their humanity and personal identity: their culture. To live in their culture and preserve it, they need a place where that culture shapes the public sphere. The natural and must justifiable place for that to happen is their homeland, or in part of it.

But in the real world, in contrast to utopias, individual rights clash. The classic metaphor for this is the man crying fire in a crowded theater: Dogmatically preserving his right of expression robs others of their right to stay alive. Nation-states can be liberal democracies, but each faces the constant challenge of balancing the right of self-determination and other rights.

Israel does not have to give up being a Jewish state. It does need to establish a very different balance of rights. In a country with a significant Jewish majority, it is reasonable for the usual language of the public sphere to be Hebrew. It is reasonable for offices to close on Jewish holidays, because most people would not show up for work on those days anyway. It is also reasonable for the kitchens in government institutions—such as the army—to be kosher, since this preserves the right of Jews who observe religious dietary laws to participate fully in society.  It is not acceptable for the government to favor Jews in allocation of jobs, land, or school buildings, or for it to prevent Muslim citizens from maintaining a mosque in a mixed Jewish-Arab neighborhood. Nor is it acceptable for the government to condition the rights of non-Jewish citizens on their swearing fealty to this particular balance of rights.

For the sake of argument, let’s accept that every criticism here as real. How does that make Israel different from every other imperfect liberal democracy in the world? Indeed, there are plenty of Arabs in Israel who, for all the discrimination against them, understand that they’re in a far more democratic place with far more rights than they would be in any Arab state including a Palestinian one. For all the talk of Arab pride and desire to be self-determining, over 40% of Arabs in the “occupied territory” of East Jerusalem would rather remain in Israel, even at the cost of moving to avoid being on the “wrong side” of a division of the city. And there’s certainly no rush of Israeli Arabs to emigrate to the rest of the Arab world to live among their “brethren.”

Further, the reader wouldn’t know from his description that Israeli Muslims regularly vote into office representatives like Asmi Bishara, who, by the definition of any “liberal democracy” are traitors, that parties like Adala have every intention of making impossible the kind of Jew-friendly polity Gorenberg grants “makes sense.”

A second objection is that creating two states between the river and the sea is no longer possible. Settlements are too large, Israel and the occupied territories too entangled; the tipping point has been passed. All that is possible now is a one-state solution.

Interesting. I would have taken the argument against two states in a different direction. How can you create another state between the river and the sea when that state shows every sign of being a failed terror state, not dedicated to the welfare of its citizens, but dedicated to keeping the refugees in camps, to ethnically cleansing any Jews from their country, to instituting sharia, and to getting “the rest” of Palestine back, namely Haifa and Tel Aviv.

Especially outside of Israel, this practical argument often hides a psychological tendency: even progressives sometimes fight the last battle, especially if it was a heroic fight for which they were born too late. One person, one vote was the answer in South Africa, they say; therefore it is the solution for Israel.

If this means what I think it does, it’s addressed to the “one-staters,” like Phillip Weiss, who insist that they support a single bi-national secular democratic state, and who reject his analysis. Gorenberg’s respectful criticism of such an either woefully misinformed or outright dishonest a goal is way too subtle. There is no possibility right now of a joint Jewish-Muslim democratic state in which Jews are not the overwhelming majority. There is no reliable evidence that the Muslims are capable of establishing a democratic state that defends the rights of its minorities (as well as its gender majority of women), a fortiori, the Palestinians for whom genuinely “moderate” parties are a tiny fraction (an endangered species) of the political scene.

In fact, a one-state arrangement would solve little and make many things worse. Imagine that tomorrow Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip were reconstituted as the Eastern Mediterranean Republic, and elections were held. With the current population, the parliament would be split almost evenly between Jews and Palestinians. One of the first issues that the parliament and judiciary would face is the settlements that Israel built on privately owned Palestinian property, whether it was requisitioned, stolen, or declared state land over Palestinian objections. Palestinian claimants would demand return of their property. The problem of evacuating settlers wouldn’t vanish. Rather, it would divide the new state on communal lines.

Wow. Somehow, I think that would be the least of the problems that would arise. The next three paragraphs strike me as a bizarre exploration of why an obviously disastrous idea would fail. Talk about smashing in open doors.

Likewise for refugees. Palestinian legislators would demand that Israel’s Law of Return be extended to cover Palestinians returning to their homeland. Jewish politicians would oppose the move, which would reduce their community to a threatened minority. Palestinians would demand the return of property lost in 1948 and perhaps the rebuilding of destroyed villages.  Except for the drawing of borders, virtually every question that bedevils Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations would become a domestic problem, setting the new political entity aflame.

Issues not at the center of today’s diplomacy would also set the two communities at odds. Israel has a post-industrial Western economy; The West Bank and Gaza are underdeveloped. Financing development in majority-Palestinian areas and bringing Palestinians into Israel’s social-welfare network would require Jews to pay higher taxes or receive fewer services. But the engine of the Israeli economy is high-tech, an entirely portable industry. Both individuals and companies would leave, crippling the new shared economy. Meanwhile, two nationalities who have desperately sought a political frame for cultural and social independence would wrestle over control of language, art, street names, and schools. Psychologically, it would be a country with two resentful minorities and no majority.

Even in the best case, the outcome would be the continued existence of separate Jewish and Palestinian political parties. And even the more liberal-leaning parties of each community would be hard-pressed to bridge the divide to form stable coalitions. Israel would become a second Belgium, perpetually incapable of forming a stable government. In the more likely case, the political tensions would ignite as violence. The transition to a single state would mark a new stage in the conflict. For a harsh example of the potential fluctuation between political stalemate and civil war, Palestinians and Jews need only look northward to Lebanon.

It would be much worse. Lebanon, for all its dysfunctions, still works (more or less).

A single state could easily be the result of Israel failing to make any choices. It would not be a solution—even a workable arrangement, which is what politics normally offers in place of solutions. It would be a nightmare: another of the places marked on the globe as a country, in which two or more communities do battle while the most educated or well-connected members of each look for refuge elsewhere.

Agreed.

A third objection to a two-state solution, from the Israeli right and its overseas supporters, is that it requires Israel to sacrifice too much for peace. This reflects an old habit of thought in which territory is the coin that Israel reluctantly pays for a peace agreement.

That’s not the argument of the “right” and its supporters overseas supporters. The argument – and I don’t consider it a right-wing argument, but a sane, even liberal argument – is that making sacrifices in the current Palestinian political climate will not bring peace but more and more vicious war (e.g., the Oslo War of 20oo). If Gorenberg doesn’t even understand this as an argument (even if he disagrees), if his idea of his “right-wing” opposition is so simplistic, then it’s a sign of how little he really understands everyone, including his own people.

It’s true that peace is an essential end in itself. But Israel must also give up land to reestablish itself as a state and a democracy. It needs to put a border back on the map. Within that border, the government needs to rule by the consent of the governed. It needs to restore the rule of law and end the ethnic conflict.

More MOS. Israel doesn’t have a border because its neighbors refuse to recognize it. The idea that by withdrawing to a border (which one? ’49-67?) that Palestinians won’t recognize, and being a good liberal democracy will “end the ethnic conflict” is an astounding fantasy.

Peace with the Palestinians is a means for achieving these goals. It provides the way for Israel to end its grip from outside on the Gaza Strip and to leave the West Bank safely. “Hold too much, and you will hold nothing,” the Talmud says. If the state of Israel tries to continue holding the West Bank, there will be no state.

He sounds a lot like the Obama administration at the beginning. Peace with the Palestinians is a means to… getting the Arab world to support us in confronting Iran, to making the world a peaceful place… etc., fantasies that had Clinton and Obama announcing a solution in a year[!]. As the administration has discovered, much to its unhappiness, “peace with the Palestinians” is right now not possible, and taking Gorenberg’s advice will only make things much worse.

There are two further points here worth making.

1) Who is responsible for Israel’s Pariah Status?

Although he doesn’t discuss it in this article, lying behind much of Gorenberg’s concern is international opinion – the pariah status he warned against in his opening remarks, and which plays a still larger part in his book. The “liberal democracy” that Gorenberg prizes is not really a flesh and blood democracy (they’re all fallible), but the perfectionist demands of progressives – Jews and non-Jews alike – which, intentionally or not, spell suicide for the only functioning democracy in the Middle East and catastrophe not only for the Jews but for the rest of the democratic world. This moral perfectionism that makes serious but relatively small Jewish blemishes unbearable to Jewish progressives and “humanitarians” with Human Rights Complex should not confuse outsiders.

In fact Israel’s “pariah status” is not her fault. Sure Israel has problems, and sure she has made mistakes, both formally and on the field of conflict. But this is nothing in comparison with the revolting behavior of her enemies, who represent a kind of religious and gender apartheid in both principle and practice that should – were there any serious moral consideration at work among progressives – make them the object of universal disdain.

Gorneberg would unconsciously agree by retorting to any effort to lessen Israel’s culpability by pointing to her enemies by insisting that he does not want to be judged by the same standards as Israel. And as an Israeli citizen whose children have served in the army, he has the right to his moral exclusiveness. But outsiders, the people making Israel a pariah, have no business using Gorenberg’s aggressively masochistic notion of the chosen people as their guide to understanding the Arab-Israeli conflict.

As many observers have noted, “Anti-Semitism” is not a Jewish problem, it’s a gentile problem.” I agree (although there are Jews like Gilad Atzmon, who internalize that problem). The same can and should be said for Anti-Zionism. If Israel is a pariah state among European intellectuals and other “progressive-minded” folk, like the academics who have colonized too much of Middle Eastern studies and other fields with their post-colonial paradigm, it’s because of a moral disorientation that will, if unchecked, be the downfall of the West. Rather than rush to appease such moral lunacy – which it cannot because the moral demands have nothing to do with real morality – Israel needs to endure an impossible contradiction long enough for the West to come to its senses.

It’s not that the problem of Israeli-Palestinian conflict is insoluble. If the Palestinians really wanted a civil, two-state solution, they’d have had it long ago. It’s that the real moves have to come from the Palestinians, and they won’t do anything until the pressure is on them. Pushing Israel only makes the Palestinians more demanding (as Obama has learned to his chagrin), and in the current climate the Western approach (the European Commission, the Obama Administration) is asking Israel to commit suicide. This is, of course, a painful situation for Israel. I agree with those who feel that keeping Palestinians in a headlock is morally corrupting. But if it’s the only alternative to giving Nazi-wannabees more power, then its the price of survival.

2) The Urgent Task: 

Gorenberg, like most of the “Israel has to do something for peace” crowd favor the “the current situation cannot hold. In a sense, he’s one of those people crying “fire” in a crowded theater about the demographic threat, the threat of irretrievably “losing” Israeli democracy, the threat of pariah status from the rest of the world. And in so doing, he wants to panic Israelis into “doing [what he believes is] the right thing.” But these fires are not forces of nature (not even the demographic), but social phenomena. When people flee a fire in panic they are not feeding the flames; when Israel does as Gorenberg subscribes, they feed the fires of Palestinian irredentism. The idea that if Israel doesn’t leave the West Bank soon – the next five years? – it will have to be an apartheid state, is a product of movements like the BDS which mobilize this moral lunacy.

Rather than shouting “fire” at the Israelis, Gorenberg would do well to shout “folly” at the very people he allows to bully him into self-destructive concessions. But his own moral perfectionism closes off that route. He can’t allow himself to know what’s going on in Palestinian political culture because it would make it impossible for him to propose his “solutions.”

I actually think the present “impossible” status quo – Israel keeps Gaza under blockade to prevent weapons from getting in, keeps the Palestinians from having free run of the West Bank – is not only possible, but the only realistic choice… until the West comes to its senses, and the Arab world grows up and ceases to be driven by its desire to avenge its lost honor. And as unlikely as that outcome may seem, it is the only one that can assure a peaceful global community in this troubled 21st century.

Alas. Reality is a hard mistress.

11 Responses to How not to save Israel: Response to Gershom Gorenberg

  1. Sérgio says:

    Great article. And that one at the Telegraph is just awsome! I also noticed this new canard from the anti-Israel crowd: they now insist on saying that “the whole world” or “the international community” decided this or that and that against Israel. This childish threat is so morally bankrupt, intellectualy shallow (after all, once “the world” thought the Earth was flat) and so full of delusional arrogance, that it´s a clear sign of their desperation.

    Best wishes.

  2. RichardNYC says:

    Even though I agree with pretty much everything in this post, I don’t see the wisdom in expanding poorly placed settlements (those not contiguous with Israel). I sympathize with the argument for encroaching slowly into the West Bank w/o compromising the contiguity of Palestinian areas (keeping one-state threats at bay), but the current settlement policy doesn’t seem strategically sound. Curious to know what you think Israel’s settlement policy should be.

    • Rob Miller says:

      Hello Richard NYC,
      First of all, it all depends on how you define ‘settlements’ whatever those are. If you ask the ‘Palestinians’ all of Israel is a ‘settlement’. The choice of the word is very dangerous as it implies a temporary status.

      As the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria expand, they will in fact become contiguous with the rest of Israel.

      Also, when you speak of ‘not compromising the contiguity of Palestinian areas’ I can’t help wondering why. The ‘Palestinians’ build in East Jerusalem and elsewhere without regards to compromising the contiguity of Jewish areas. In fact, right now the EU and USAid are funding the construction of Rawabi, a brand new ‘Palestinian’ city which is deliberately being built from scratch in a primarily Jewish area and will actually encroach on the Israeli town of Ateret. The only thing holding the project up is that the ‘Palestinians’ had the nerve to ask for even more Jewish land for access roads and thus far Israel has quite correctly said no.

      With all respect, I think you’re approaching this from the wrong angle. Israel doesn’t need a ‘settlement’ policy. That implies that Jews need permission on where to live so as not to offend anyone. Since the Palestinian Authority’ only has title, as it were, to almost all the areas they now occupy ( mostly Area c, where the vast majority of the PA population live) by Israeli sufferance it makes much more sense for Israel to have a policy on where they allow the ‘Palestinians’, who claim they want to establish an apartheid Jew-free reichlet to encroach on anything outside of Area C. One could even argue that since the ‘Palestinians’ have disavowed the Oslo Accords, even Area C is subject to dispute.

      BTW, I wouldn’t worry about the one state solution if I were you.The ‘Palestinian’ demographic bomb is the biggest myth they’ve come up with since Mohammed al-Dura:

      http://joshuapundit.blogspot.com/2010/05/palestinian-demographic-bomb-myth.html

      Time is on Israel’s side, not the other way around.

      All Good Things,
      Rob Miller @ Joshuapundit

      • Richard Gill says:

        I remember the BBC describing Sderot as a “settlement”. It is interesting how many people have internalised the Palestinian narrative in the West and in the intelligentsia too.

      • RichardNYC says:

        I think our disagreement boils down to demographics, and what would result from political enfranchisement of even 1.5 million more Palestinians in Israel.

  3. Cynic says:

    It’s pretty revealing that Gorenberg thinks Israel needs to establish itself again as a “liberal democracy.”

    Well Peres also seems to have doubts given his views:
    Israel must not deviate from its democratic spirit, says Peres

    President Shimon Peres on Tuesday sharply criticized the recent wave of right-wing legislation passing through the Knesset.

    Speaking at a youth conference in Kiryat Gat, Peres said, “In a democracy, it is forbidden to use the power of the majority for evil. A democratic regime is designed to serve the people, not control them. The government must serve everyone, the majority, the minority, Jews and Arabs. These proposals in Knesset deviate from the democratic spirit of the state of Israel.”

    So to control European interference in the security of the country by funding NGOs committed to undermining the state makes Israel a non-democratic regime?
    What evil is there in vigilance?

    And the Supreme Court where the judges choose the judges and make sure they’re all of the correct “colour”?
    But in Peres’ parlance the govt., must serve everyone; except maybe right wingers?
    Maybe in this case the “right wingers” are the correct wingers.

    Maybe a Conservative democracy is sufficient?

    “Democracy is important in Israel, both internally and externally,” Peres said. “Democracy is a form of government whose main purpose is to act on the part of the people, not to control them. The government was elected to serve the people, and when there is a difference of opinion, the majority decides, but does not exercise control. I call on our elected representatives to serve everyone.”

    Does this make sense if the Govt., is not to control the security of the state from the “them” who wish it ill at the expense of the rest?

    Does the rest of it make sense? He calls on the elected representatives to serve everyone; including JStreet, the European govts., and anyone who has a gripe against the state as well as the Rothschild Boulevard’s tent dwellers?

  4. Cynic says:

    Just as an added bit of info to the right wing legislation that would “control” the supreme court here’s a piece of interest on “Liberal Democracy”
    ‘Death Sentence’ Reversed on Israeli Village

    The Migron residents claimed that they purchased the land legally and had bona fide proof of ownership. The Court chose to disregard the whole issue of proof of ownership and handed down a decided in favor of the Arab claimants. The Court ordered the army to remove the Israeli inhabitants and destroy all structures.
    ……
    The Magistrate’s Court then bethought itself to demand of the Arab claimants their proof of ownership, a simple legal evidentiary procedure. At once the Arabs, who had just successfully claimed in the Supreme Court that the land was theirs, suddenly and without explanation, withdrew their lawsuit from the Magistrate’s court.

    Just so liberally democratic.

  5. zaydesvox says:

    Excellant Article! Happy to see an American (Rich Landes) professor answer so well the Anti Jewish Jews who think Israel should give up everything Judasim stands for. 4000 yrs of Pogroms from Jew haters still trying to harm or kill Jews right up until today. These sycophantic, walk to the gas chambers Jews like Gorenberg, Chomsky, Finklestein, Judt et all ..too many to mention, were the same ones in 1933 in Berlin, drinking their ‘cafe mit slage’..said..”Hitler is no danger to the Jews in Germany!” Oh yeah..I believe what Eric Hoffer (Ala Va Sholem) the longshore philosopher wrote..”Israel is like a barometer of the world..as it goes with Israel..so goes it with the world. If Israel goes down, so will the free world!” (paraphrased). He also said..Israel is the only nation that wins its wars and has to beg for peace”! One look at this Arab “Spring/Fall” tells us of the so called peace of Islam!

  6. zaydesvox says:

    Another fact..I dont see the Israeli Arabs running away to Cairo, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, or Gaza..Jordan wont even let them in…in fact they chased Arafat and his PLO to Lebanon where they ruined a great nation! Even the old King Hussien killed thousands of them. Black September…remember! Azoy!

  7. Adam Dalgliesh says:

    Richard–of course your points are all well taken. But Gorenberg and all who think like him are at once so simple-minded, naive, and self-righteous (hard to be all of these things at once, but the peaceniks are indeed both self-righteous and without elementary common sense at the same time) that a much harsher response is needed. It has to be made clear that the sort of arguments offered by Gorenberg and his ilk are not those that a rational individual in good mental health could possibly held. Your comments about “masochistic omnipotence complex” need to be expanded upon.
    What’s required is not to take the arguments of these Jewish guilt-complex-obsessed fools seriously, or to answer them respectfully, point by point as you do, but either to psychoanalize them (something that is desperately needed but has not been seriously attempted) in order to figure out what the flaws and weaknesses in Jewish culture are that could cause so many well-educated and articulate Jews to prate such patently absurd, self-destructive nonsense, or to subject them to the withering ridicule and/or righteous indignation that they so richly deserve. In other words, Gorenberg and his ilk require a reply from either Dr. Freud or Jonathan Swift, or both. To adopt a serious and respectful tone in responding to their insane, out-of-touch-with-reality carping at their fellow Jews is to play their game. They must be completely delegitimated in the minds of the overwhelming majority of Jews, stigmatized as dangerous mentally ill people, and their irrational claims totally repudiated with outrage and disgust, if Israel and the Jewish people are to have a chance to survive at all.

    Anyone who is not either a malicious anti-Semite or a masochistic, emotionally disturbed Jew should be able to see immediately that the Palestinians, other Arabs and the entire Muslim world have absolutely no desire to make peace with Israel, and that only the complete destruction of Israel and the extermination or at a minumum the complete expulsion of its population will satisfy the. The Palestinians make this plain in both words and deeds every day. It is the inability of the entire “inteernational community.” and of large number of seemingly educated Jews, to grasp this well-documented and self-evident fact that needs to be explored and explained.

    I would be deeply grateful if you would reply to this comment, Richard.

  8. JD says:

    “that the hardest thing for him to realize is that “it’s not in our hands.””

    Believe me, that is the hardest thing to do for a Cold War Western Marxist or Leftist and their useful idiots. Imperial Hubris and the idea that they and their peeps are the center of history are ingrained into their static minds. Just getting them to say the word “Hamas” is a great concession. Their whole dilemma about nationalism is a reaction to a brain fart from the dying Soviet Union’s anti-=Zionism campaign. Gosh, and the fellow quotes the delusional Tony Judt no less, whose leftist anti-semitism (my favorite being his Austro-Hungarian empire rant) probably has more to do with gaining acceptance in elitist anti-semitic circles in London, than with Soviet embrace.

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