To Today’s Cosmopolitan and “Oikophobic” Left, Israel Can Never Be Acceptable

On the day the Knesset passed its nation-state law last year, Benjamin Netanyahu proclaimed, “This is our state—the Jewish state. . . . This is our nation, language, and flag.” This declaration, argues Wiliam Voegeli, points precisely to what the American left finds so unpalatable about Israel:

As political scientist Joseph Cropsey discerned more than 50 years ago, liberals (in the modern, American, left-of-center sense of the term) have always viewed “the dividedness of men grouped according to their nations” as arbitrary and pernicious. Those committed to equality as the highest political good believe that the groups divided in this way can never be mutually respectful for long. Instead, us-and-them distinctions necessarily become invidious, leading to competition, strife, and conquest.

Ultimately, of course, a world cleansed of other-ing must also renounce us-ing. Whether it’s a softball team or a nation, a human grouping to which everyone does or can belong is one to which nobody belongs in any way that matters or makes sense. No group can have an inside unless it also has an outside. The meaning and importance of being inside will, inevitably, turn on how those who are inside define and defend the boundaries that distinguish them from others.

[The result is] “oikophobia,” philosopher Roger Scruton’s term to describe xenophobia’s opposite: fear and loathing of the close and familiar in favor of that which is unlike oneself.

Combine this with another key belief favored by the segment of the left that terms itself “woke”—namely, the inclination to divide the world between the privileged and the oppressed and to organize the latter in a hierarchy of victimization—and the consequent attitudes toward Israel are predictable:

In the belief that Palestinians have, as a rule, darker complexions than Israel’s Ashkenazim, the woke apply the implicit rule of their privilege hierarchy, which holds that melanin is the most reliable proxy for moral worth. . . .

The future of Israel, America, and other nations will be shaped by the contest between the Great Awokening and “Somewhereism” [i.e., the sense of rooted belonging]. If the latter prevails, it will be because national majorities around the world come to feel that “this is our nation, language, and flag,” is not just a legitimate thing for an Israeli prime minister to say, but also for patriotic citizens of any decent country to believe.

Read more at Claremont Review of Books

More about: Anti-Zionism, Leftism, Nation-State Law, Nationalism

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7