Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Being the Jew that fights back

Being the Jew that fights back
Posted on
Recently, Palestinian human rights activist (really) Bassem Eid was threatened by anti-Israel demonstrators, and had to have a police escort out of a talk he gave at the University of Chicago. Caroline Glick noted this incident as more evidence that the goal of the supposedly pro-Palestinian movement is not to help Palestinians but rather to hurt Israel.
Eid was a researcher for B’Tselem, and founded the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (PHMRG). PHMRG has criticized Israel sharply on occasion. But it also attacks the PA and Hamas for human rights abuses of Palestinians, such as murder and torture of prisoners, executions of ‘collaborators’, suppression of journalists, and so forth.
Glick also mentioned that Eid was challenged by ‘Emily’, a Jewish member of J Street (probably the tamest of the Jewish anti-Israel organizations), who thought his message should have been about “occupation and settlements.”
None of this is new or surprising. But it made me ask this question: why are there so few Bassem Eids in the world and so many Emilys, especially in America?
One reason there aren’t more Eids is the very behavior of the Palestinian leadership that he opposes. In areas under the control of the PA or Hamas, dissidents to the official line are afraid for their lives and those of their families. Even in Arab towns inside the Green line, the influence of radicals makes it dangerous to speak out.
But in the US and other places where it is relatively safe, it is a rare – not unheard of, but rare – Palestinian, Arab or other Muslim who will admit that Israel bears anything less than full responsibility for the conflict. While I am convinced that they base their opinions on false history, made up facts and deliberate blindness, I admire their solidarity.
And I wonder what is wrong with so many Jews, who could cite true history and real facts to support a pro-Israel position if they wish, but who prefer to spit in the face of their own people.
They will tell you that it is because they are on the side of justice. But how did they decide where justice lies? The Arab narrative is not the only one that they are exposed to. The Jewish/Israeli one is accessible to them as well. They had to make a choice, and they chose to believe the Arab story and to align themselves with the Arab side, despite the fact that their liberal sensitivities ought to be outraged by the corruption, racism, sexism, homophobia and brutality that characterizes the Palestinian Arab culture.
In a recent essay, Richard Landes proposes a surprising answer. The motivator is shame.
Landes makes an analogy between the shame that makes an Arab father murder his own daughter in order to clear a stain on the family honor, and the shame felt by a progressive Jew when his family member, Israel, is believed by his community – the “global progressive Left” – to have sinned against progressive values:
The feelings stem not because of what Israel has (often enough not) done, and certainly not in comparison with the behavior of our neighbors, but because of “how it looks” to outsiders. Shame comes from looking bad – awful – in the eyes of people whose opinion matters. When it comes to the emotion, it matters little what actually happened. In the most toxic of honor-shame communities, men kill their daughters and sisters not because they did something shameful, but because others think it, true or not.
And the source of “how it looks” is what he calls the “ferociously negative depiction of Israel in the global public sphere” today, the well-documented tendency of the media to distort news of the conflict to portray Israel as the villain in every incident, and in many cases, as being motivated by racism and hatred for innocent Palestinians.
But Landes doesn’t explain how it came about that progressive American Jews, the very antitheses of the honor killers of the Mideast, exhibit honor-shame behavior. In other words, why do they care so much about how they look to others in this respect? To understand this, we must consider the history of the European Jews that are the ancestors of most of those paradigms of modernity.
Those Jews lived in communities where they were at the mercy of the gentile rulers and majority populations. They faced periodic pogroms, expulsions and expropriations of their property. Those that didn’t try to assimilate – a choice that wasn’t even available in most cases until the 19th Century – learned to get along, to appease, to buy off, to flatter. What they didn’t do was directly confront Jew-haters, because that would most likely have gotten them killed.
This situation was recognized as both unsustainable and dishonorable by Herzl and other early Zionists. But the non-Zionists and anti-Zionists chose to continue the policy of appeasement. From the beginning of the Zionist movement, a sharp line was drawn between the fighters – the Zionists – and the appeasers.
These are the folks that supported Roosevelt’s policy of inaction during the Holocaust, and vilified the Zionists of the Bergson Group who tried to change that policy. And their grandchildren created J Street, which supports Barack Obama’s policy of forcing Israel into indefensible borders and preventing her from actively defending herself.
At the same time, these Jews grew up in America and have absorbed the American ethos of self-reliance and self-defense.
To this type of Jew, nothing is more embarrassing than the Jew that fights back, because they are still afraid that assertive behavior endangers the Jewish community, while at the same time they are ashamed of themselves for not fighting back.
This is the source of the shame that drives the irrational and highly emotional hatred of Israel – the Israeli being the paradigm case of ‘the Jew that fights back’ – that characterizes the progressive Jews active in J Street, Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine.
If this is correct, then there isn’t much that Zionists can say to these shame-obsessed Jews. We are not only supporters of the country they are ashamed of, but ourselves objects of shame. No wonder they are so angry at us!
https://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2016/02/27/how-tyrannies-implode/ - Open the link for video of Ceaușescu speech
How Tyrannies Implode
By Richard Fernandez
Posted By Ruth King on February 28th, 2016
 “It’s becoming evident that the European elites failed to understand how explosive the migrant issue was until it detonated full in their face. Now it is in the midst of a crisis which could literally bring down the European Union.  Why didn’t they see it coming?  Because they believed their own Narrative, even when they should have suspected it was a lie of their own making. If the PC Western elites are overtaken by a cascade similar to that which collapsed the Soviet Union, the ultimate irony will be that the very migrants which they had counted on to create the Curley Effect will turn out to be the engine of their own destruction.”
This week marks the 30th anniversary of People’s Power Revolution in the Philippines that historians now regard as marking the start of the Color Revolutions that cumulatively crumbled the Soviet Union. The most astonishing aspect of the entire Color Revolution cycle was that it came largely as a surprise to pundits. As Leon Aron wrote in Foreign Policy, how and why they happened remains an enduring historical mystery.  “In the years leading up to 1991, virtually no Western expert, scholar, official, or politician foresaw the impending collapse of the Soviet Union, and with it one-party dictatorship, the state-owned economy, and the Kremlin’s control over its domestic and Eastern European empires.”
Consider: the USSR’s vital signs gave no warning of failure. The Soviet Union in 1986 was as as big and populous as it had ever been. It had thousands of nuclear warheads.  It’s economy was bad it’s true but no worse than at many points in its past. There was no significant opposition to the Politburo. “After 20 years of relentless suppression of political opposition, virtually all the prominent dissidents had been imprisoned, exiled … forced to emigrate, or had died in camps and jails. There did not seem to be any other signs of a pre-revolutionary crisis.”
How could such a giant system, which withstood the onslaught of Nazi Germany itself,  fail?
Flash back to 1986 before we knew what was then the future.  The same things might have been said of Ferdinand Marcos and Nikolae Ceaușescu (about more later) in 1989. They were outwardly strong yet both were doomed.  Their regimes would collapse like a house of cards  in ways we are still struggling to understand. One of the theories (hat tip commenter Edie_VA)  put forward to explain the implosions was  preference falsification.
In his book Private Truth, Public Lies, social scientist Timur Kuran argued that people, under pressure to conform by culture leaders often told public lies to get the pollsters and thought police off their backs, even as they nurtured a largely undetected private resentments  inside them. Over time two divergent perceptions would emerge: the public lie would determine how the regime thought about itself while the private truth contained the real, but hidden data.
These two contradictory perceptions can coexist for as long as they don’t meet, living in a kind of superposition much like Schrodinger’s Cat.  But eventually some event occurs which makes the public aware the private truth is really what everybody is thinking.  That observation collapses the political wave function and causes all hell to break loose.  Perhaps the clearest and most dramatic example of such a cascade was Nicolae Ceaușescu’s final speech on December 21, 1989. When the speech started Ceaușescu appeared to be in total control.  By the end of it he was literally running for his life.
In the wake of growing tension over an uprising in Timișoara in which thousands were reportedly killed, Ceaușescu decided to give a nationally televised speech …Thousands of workers were bussed into the square under threat of being fired. They were given red flags, banners and large pictures of Ceaușescu and his wife. … The crowd, now totaling up to 80,000, were given orders on where to stand, when to applaud and what to sing. The front rows of the assembly were made up of low-level Communist Party officials and members who acted as cheer-leaders. …
So far so good.  Then it all fell apart.  It was a fantastic reversal of fortune.
However, he had badly misread the crowd’s mood. … Eight minutes into the speech, some in the crowd actually began to scream because there was a shooting that occurred in the background. Workers from a Bucharest power plant started chanting “Ti-mi-șoa-ra! Ti-mi-șoa-ra!”—a chant that was soon picked up by others in the crowd. In response, Ceaușescu raised his right hand in hopes of silencing the crowd; his stunned expression remains one of the defining moments of the end of Communism in Eastern Europe. After many people began to exit the square, Ceaușescu shouted over the public address system for them to “remain seated”. He then tried to placate the crowd by offering to raise workers’ salaries by [the usual Romanian socialist pittance] … At that very moment, many everyday Romanians saw the weakness of Ceaușescu’s regime for the first time.
By the next day the rebellion had spread across the country and Nikolae and Elena Ceaușescu would be shot 3 days later still wearing the same overcoats they had donned on the occasion of their triumphant speech.  In this incident the mystery of the Color Revolutions is reduced to its essentials.  To the question: why did couldn’t Ceaușescu or Marcos see it coming, the answer is: they only saw the public lie.  The private truth remained hidden until some galvanizing event forced it to the surface.
It’s becoming evident that the European elites failed to understand how explosive the migrant issue was until it detonated full in their face. Now it is in the midst of a crisis which could literally bring down the European Union.  Why didn’t they see it coming?  Because they believed their own Narrative, even when they should have suspected it was a lie of their own making. If the PC Western elites are overtaken by a cascade similar to that which collapsed the Soviet Union, the ultimate irony will be that the very migrants which they had counted on to create the Curley Effect will turn out to be the engine of their own destruction.
They will have been hoisted on their own petard, or perhaps more accurately sentenced by their own Narrative.  The most dangerous lie is the one which you tell others then wind up believing yourself.  For many years the Western political elites not only espoused the “public lie”, but made certain that anyone who refused to repeat it was pilloried by the thought police. Like the Soviets they thought this solved the problem.  But it only ensured that the spring would be wound — and wound past the breaking point — precisely where they could not see it strain.

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