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Sebastian Gorka and the Truth about Jewish Liberals and American Politics

Sept. 6 2017

In a recent radio interview, the outgoing White House counterterrorism adviser claimed that his pro-Israel positions were the source of much of the criticism directed at him during his tenure. Gorka went on to suggest that the “liberal elements of the American Jewish population have basically become anti-Israeli. It’s the greatest, saddest paradox.” But, writes, Jonathan Tobin, Gorka misunderstands the Jewish left—much as the Jewish left has misunderstood him:

[L]ike all such generalizations, any attempt to describe all liberal Jews as anti-Israel is a slander. Some . . . have turned on Israel and have swelled the ranks of groups critical [of Israel], like J Street, with many others backing anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace that support the BDS movement. But most liberal Jews are still pro-Israel and many play a role in maintaining support for Israel via AIPAC and other groups.

But the avalanche of attacks on Gorka—including many from Jewish sources, some of which were unfair—was real. What was confusing about it, for him, is that he didn’t understand why being pro-Israel cut him no slack from liberal Jews. The reason for their antipathy is no secret. Gorka was an editor at Breitbart.com before his stint at the White House, and he’s returning to the website. . . . Donald Trump’s style is both inspired by and deeply appealing to Breitbart’s readers.

So far as liberals are concerned, that means it’s open season to assail those associated with Breitbart or President Trump. For Gorka, that meant a deep dive into his background as the son of Hungarian exiles. . . . Most of what was discovered was more a matter of guilt by association than proof of anything damaging. . . . The low point was reached when the Forward published a story about his son’s high-school science project. . . . Though the story was withdrawn, the Forward has yet to . . . explain this breach of journalistic ethics. . . .

All liberal Jews don’t deserve to be labeled as Israel-haters, and Gorka’s support for the Jewish state shouldn’t earn him immunity from all criticism. But neither should it have been ignored in a rush to demonize someone who, whatever you may think of his politics, was eager to be an ally of the Jewish people at a time when we can use all the friends we can get. That so many Jews are unmoved by that fact is, as Gorka correctly notes, a sad paradox.

Read more at Algemeiner

More about: American politics, Donald Trump, Israel & Zionism, Liberal Zionism

 

Israel’s Economy Thrives While the Middle East Disintegrates

Jan. 19 2018

Now that the data have come in from 2017, it is clear that the Israeli economy had another successful year, expanding at a rate higher than that of any other advanced country. Israel’s per-capita GDP also grew, placing it above those of France and Japan. Daniel Kryger notes some of the implications regarding the Jewish state’s place in the Middle East:

The contrast between first-world Israel and the surrounding third-world Arab states is larger today than ever before. Israel’s GDP per capita is almost twenty times the GDP per capita of impoverished Egypt and five times larger than semi-developed Lebanon.

Like any human project, Israel is a never-ending work in progress and much work remains to integrate ḥaredi Jews and Israeli Arabs into Israel’s knowledge economy. Properly addressing Israel’s high costs of living requires more economic and legislative reforms and breaking up inefficient oligopolies that keep the prices artificially high. However, by any standard, the reborn Jewish state is a remarkable success story. . . .

Much has changed since OPEC launched its oil embargo against the West after the failed Arab aggression against Israel in October 1973. Before the collapse of the pro-Arab Soviet empire, China and India had no official ties with Israel and many Western and Japanese companies avoided doing business with Israel. Collapsing oil prices have dramatically eroded the power of oil-producing countries. It has become obvious that the future belongs to those who innovate, not those who happen to sit on oil. Israel has today strong commercial ties with China and a thriving partnership with India. Business delegations from Jamaica to Japan are eager to do business with Israel and benefit from Israel’s expertise. . . .

[For its part], the boycott, divest, and sanction (BDS) movement may bully Jewish and pro-Israel students on Western campuses. However, in real life, BDS stands no chance of succeeding against Israel. The reason is simple: reborn Israel has . . . become too valuable a player in the global economy.

Read more at Mida

More about: BDS, Israel & Zionism, Israeli economy, Middle East, OPEC