Sunday, December 9, 2012

I really like the Jews, so it's quite a shame what fascists they've become.

Mike L.

That was not the title of this recent Daily Kos diary, but it might as well have been.  It's one of those pieces written by non-Jewish liberals that expresses the profound regret that, although they have nothing but affection and respect for the Jewish people, Israel has gone fascist.  It's one of those sentiments that is often expressed as the idea that it's a terrible shame that Jewish Israelis not only learned nothing from the Holocaust, but have become themselves something akin to Nazis.

The author writes:
So I packed up my family and we went to live in Israel in 1963. We spent two years there only to cut a three year Fellowship short to come home to work against the war in Vietnam.

My kids were 2 and 5 when we arrived in Israel and they were in the preschool that was everywhere in Israel at that time. The government was socialist and I fell in love with socialism. My kids were involved in every holiday and we were too. It was delightful.
Apparently, however, the Jewish socialist utopia which was Israel almost fifty years ago was simply not to last.  So, what does the author think of Israel as it is, lo these many years later?
Today I am revulsed by Israel and its adoption of fascism. Yet the Jewish culture I remember is wonderful! Why have they destroyed it?
The author does not tell us just how it is that he thinks that Israel has adopted fascism.  Whatever the reason, however, this kind of thinking (which is quite prominent on the progressive-left) is what Professor Richard Landes refers to as "moral schadenfreude," which he defines as follows:
it is the core of the anti-Judaism I discussed above. It designates the thrill (frisson) that accompanies the ability to accuse Israel, to knock it off its moral pedestal, to announce (as one of my friends did repeatedly in the years after al Durah) “this time Israel’s lost the moral high ground.” Somehow there is a great pleasure that accompanies inflicting moral pain on the Jews. Somehow one gets great pleasure from being able to say, “You Jews, two thousand years you suffered persecution and no sooner do you get power, but you turn around and do it to the poor Palestinians. You’re just as bad as everyone else (off the pedestal), you’re as bad or worse than the Nazis (sadistic version).”
Landes believes that the source of this pleasure in anti-Jewish moral schadenfreude is a contemporary western secular form of moral supersessionism.  Superssionism was the belief that because the Jews have, in the case of Christians, rejected the divinity of Christ or, in the case of Muslims, have distorted the teachings of Allah while rejecting his Prophet, they have been replaced as the the "chosen people" by the Christians or by the Muslims, depending on who is doing the anti-Jewish accusing.

Landes writes:
One of the implications of this analysis is that the Western secular Left is also supersessionist, as in the case of Jostein Gaarder. In order to pose as the moral cutting edge of global consciousness, the Left seems to feel that putting Israel down makes them look good. Few cases make a stronger case that, imagining one can be a better person without believing in God, can lead one to disastrous moral immodesty. After all, all those Christians and Muslims who beat up on the Jews invoked their belief in God to justify their contempt and sense of moral superiority. So, having tossed aside God, we secular, atheist, progressives… beat up on Jews, thinking we’re morally superior.

Lethal Narratives are like rich truffles, so tasty that there seems an almost bottomless appetite for them, and the European intelligentsia are like a fat man with a 300+ cholesterol count who just can’t stop popping those yummy truffles of moral Schadenfreude. Jon Donnison tweets a picture of a dead Syrian baby as a dead Gaza baby. WTF? What business does a BBC correspondent have in participating in dead baby porn? Does he realize he’s playing the role of a picador, trying to spur the Arab bull into a rage so he’ll attack Israel?
In the various ways that progressives express hostility toward Israel, perhaps my very least favorite is when they do so out of alleged love for that country.  While parading their own moral superiority to the Jewish people they simultaneously help to lay the ideological foundation for the next round of violence against us.  Whatever his intention, the Daily Kos writer who tells the world that Israel has become a fascist state is, by logical necessity, also saying that it must therefore be destroyed.

There is only one thing to be done with fascist countries and it is precisely what the Allies did to Nazi Germany during World War II.  When people call Israel fascist, or claim that it has become something akin to Nazi Germany, what they are really saying is that it must be crushed... for its own good, of course.

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